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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Adam Hasner, George LeMieux spin Connie Mack's daunting poll position



Say you're Adam Hasner and you've been campaigning for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination relentlessly for nearly a year. Then U.S. Rep. Connie Mack jumps in, and a new poll shows you at 2 percent - TWO PERCENT!, tied with Craig Miller - and 30 points behind Mack. What do you do?


You invoke Marco Rubio vs. Charlie Crist, of course. And declare the race wide open. From a Hasner email to his list:

Early polls are largely meaningless. Just ask "Senator" Charlie Crist.

But today's poll does reinforce something Adam has believed since the beginning: as the only Washington outsider in the race, he has to outwork and out-hustle his opponents to earn this campaign every day. He hasn't spent 40 years as a Washington insider, he didn't inherit name ID, and he didn't have a U.S. Senate seat handed to him by Charlie Crist.  

What Adam does have is a tireless work ethic, the strongest conservative bona fides and a message that resonates with rank and file conservative voters who will determine this election next year.

If 2010 taught us anything, it is that Republican primary voters will reject the candidates hand-picked by the D.C. establishment - and both Connie Mack and George LeMieux are undeniably that. At a time when Congress' approval rating is in the single digits, are voters really looking to change Washington by replacing one incumbent with either an incumbent Congressman or a former U.S. Senator?

Floridians know we can't fix Washington problems by electing people who helped create those Washington problems....Today's poll also reinforces that the race is wide open. No one in the Republican primary field is polling above 50%, and no one candidate does significantly better against Nelson than the other.

"None of the above" still garners the most votes, but once voters have the opportunity to compare Adam's record to Congressman Mack's and Senator LeMieux's, we're entirely confident that Adam will earn the Republican nomination.

Congressman Mack is riding on borrowed time and residual name ID. When the voters of Florida take a look at Congressman Mack's role in the Washington spending spree that wrecked our economy, his addiction to earmarks and his offensive comments on border security, the bloom will come off the rose.

In fact, Congressman Mack is polling at the exact same place today that he was three years ago in a similar Quinnipiac Poll....Finally, Senator LeMieux is running on fumes. He has essentially been running for Senate for three years, and despite having the support of Charlie Crist's political and fundraising machine, he cannot escape his legacy as Crist's "maestro." The predicate of LeMieux's campaign was always to capture the moderate Country Club Republican demo. Right now, LeMieux and Mack will compete for the same pool of moderate Republican voters, meaning LeMieux's argument for his candidacy is the most difficult to make.

If you're George LeMieux, behind by 20 points, you can't invoke Charlie Crist of course. But you do declare Mack doomed and part of the Washington problem. Spokeswoman Anna Nix: “Congressman Connie Mack inherited a popular name.  Once Republican voters realize Congressman Mack is not his father, voted for trillions in deficit spending and wasteful pork, and voted to raise his own Congressional salary, his support will collapse.”


[Last modified: Friday, November 11, 2011 3:07pm]


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