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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Connie Mack keeps GOP Senate field waiting on 2012 run

19

February

connie.jpgWASHINGTON — Connie Mack IV is blessed with a golden political name that would make him an instant Republican front-runner against U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012.

But even as early polls show the congressman from Fort Myers as the strongest challenge to the Democratic incumbent, in many respects he's the most unpredictable candidate eyeing the race: a fiscal conservative with a maverick streak that includes supporting stem cell research, defending WikiLeaks and denouncing Arizona's tough immigration law as Gestapo-like.

Those views could be radioactive with the tea party base, or serve as the straight-shooting authenticity many voters crave.

"I don't think he does it for positioning, I think it's because he has conviction," said Republican consultant Sally Bradshaw, who is neutral in the race. "I think there's room in this primary for someone who takes risk and is bold."

The telegenic, 43-year-old former state legislator and marketing consultant is testing the waters to represent all of Florida while his congresswoman wife, Mary Bono Mack, lives 2,500 miles away and critics already accuse him of spending too little time at home. (story here)

[Last modified: Saturday, February 19, 2011 11:37am]

    

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