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Politics / Issues

A Look at the Bill Nelson, Connie Mack Election Night Events

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Fort Myers News-Press

Last night, Democrat Bill Nelson held onto his seat in the U.S. Senate.  Nelson defeated Republican Congressman Connie Mack 55 to 42 percent. We look at both the Nelson and Mack election night events - first, Nelson's celebration in Orlando.

Bill Nelson took the stage at the Embassy Suites hotel in Downtown Orlando as his campaign song played.

He described it as a cross between the battle hymn of the Republic and the theme from Rocky.

Nelson told the crowd he’s ready to move on after a bitter campaign.

“I want you to know that in the toxic atmosphere that you’ve seen, you must understand that Connie Mack is my opponent, he is not my enemy,” he said. 

Speaking with reporters, Nelson said he thinks the people who voted for him also want to see more cooperation in Washington.

“People are tired of this division," he said. "They want commonsense, they want this excessive partisanship and ideological rigidity, they want it stopped.”

Nelson says he can work across the aisles on big challenges- like steering the country away from the fiscal cliff. He says lawmakers will get to work on that next week.

Supporter Sarah Brady wasn’t surprised at the re-election of Sen. Nelson, who she described as a great senator and civic leader. And she was hopeful for less partisan fighting in Washington.

“I am the eternal optimist," Brady said, "and I believe and hope that all of our elected leaders will finally do the right thing and work together, work for the people and do what’s best for the country and not for the party.”

That echoed the message of Nelson’s victory speech, with the Senator making a plea for people to come together after the election to bring out the best in the state and the nation.

And in Bonita Springs...

It was almost as if the party was over before it even started. Connie Mack’s supporters trickled in a little before 7 p.m…and they were feeling….

“Optimistic…we’re all rooting for Connie Mack our next Senator!”

But shortly after Cape Coral resident Ada Doering made that statement, the numbers started coming in. And Fort Myers supporter Michelle Brown noted it wasn’t looking good for Mack.

“It looks like Mack will probably be conceding according to the early votes," Brown said, "but we’ll see.”

A disappointment for several supporters at Mack’s party in Bonita Springs who say they like the Republican politician for his family values, and his knack for saying exactly what he means.

Around 9:30, Mack, who ran his campaign largely on a platform of balancing the federal budget by 2019 with his penny plan, conceded the race to Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson.

Flanked by his family and his father - former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III, Mack told the crowd the fight wasn’t over.

“We will continue with passion and grace, to define the issues to talk about the what it is that we believe in," Mack said. "This is not an ending, this is just the beginning."

But Michelle Brown isn’t happy to have to face the next six years under Bill Nelson.

"I really didn’t like all the negative campaign ads, just stopped watching him, stopped answering the phone when everybody was trying to call and put the next nail in the coffin," she said, "so I don’t really like that.”

Supporters hope it's not a sign of what’s to come.