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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida U.S. Senate race now 'toss up' with Mack's entrance, handicapper says



Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball moves Florida's U.S. Senate race to "toss up" from "leans Democratic."

Rep. Connie Mack’s (R) entrance into the Florida Senate race against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) has likely turned this race into a real slugfest. Baseball jokes aside — Mack is the son of former Sen. Connie Mack III and the great-grandson of Connie Mack, the famous baseball manager and owner of the Philadelphia Athletics — Mack must first navigate the Republican primary before he faces off against Nelson. However, the early polling indicates that the opposition may be of the minor league variety. Former Sen. George LeMieux (R), ex-Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner (R) and former gubernatorial candidate Mike McCalister all poll behind Mack in Quinnipiac’s first survey of the race.

In the head-to-head matchup with Nelson, Mack trails by just two percentage points. With this race looking like a barn-burner, its final result may be greatly affected by the presidential election. Florida, the key swing state cog in the Electoral College machine, will undoubtedly see massive investments from President Obama and the eventual Republican nominee. Because of this, the down-ticket effect means that there is a good chance that whichever party wins the state in the presidential battle will also claim the Senate seat. For that reason, we now rate this race a TOSS UP.


[Last modified: Thursday, December 1, 2011 6:24pm]


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