Is the Senate Race Over?
With George LeMieux quitting the Senate race and endorsing Connie Mack IV, is the race over?
Senator LeMieux listed two reasons for his exit: 1) RPOF and the “powers that be”, presumably including FreedomWorks, have thrown their support to Connie Mack, making it hard for LeMieux and others to find sufficient funds to run a state-wide media campaign against the deep pockets of Connie Mack and his supporters and 2) Congressman Mack refuses to come out and debate his Republican rivals, precluding any “free” publicity for the challengers and closing the door on any discussion of issues.
With money and media a major requirement, Mike McCalister, MarieLena Stuart, Ron MacNeil and the others would seem to be at a major disadvantage. Dave Weldon would be also, given his late entry.
The Weldon campaign plans to fight though. From what I heard today from a campaign staffer, many grassroots coordinators from the LeMieux campaign are coming over to Weldon.
In a conference call immediately following his announcement, Congressman Weldon did not particularly impress. His website was content-free, he seemed unprepared, and lacked detailed knowledge of many of the issues important to the grassroots. That has changed. He now has a well developed set of policy positions (see: daveweldonforsenate.com/issues/ ) which are clearly conservative and counter to the Obama/Nelson agenda, he is gathering endorsements (Sam Brownback, Citizens United Political Victory Fund), and stepping up fundraising.
The near term plan is to bulk up the number of small contributors to show grassroots strength and his phonebank is asking for $5-10 donations in the next couple of days to make the case.
Will he be a credible challenge to Mack? I don’t know, but it is a shame to see the primary end today with a whimper. I gave him a small contribution and plan to watch what happens. If you are not comfortable with Connie Mack as the presumptive nominee, you could do the same.