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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Will Bill Nelson really have a money advantage over Connie Mack? Don't bet on it



Hotline's latest U.S. Senate rankings pegs Florida's contest between Democrat Bill Nelson and (probably) Republican Connie Mack IV as the 11th most like senate race to switch party control.

Rep. Connie Mack is becoming more competitive simply by virtue of the state's closely divided nature. National Republicans are getting more interested in the race as public polling continues to show Mack running closely behind -- or in some cases narrowly ahead -- of Nelson. If Florida comes off the presidential table, watch Senate groups get more interested. Nelson's money, though, is an overwhelming advantage right now.

Two thoughts: It's highly unlikely that Florida will come off the table of battleground states, and there's little reason to think Nelson really will have a financial advantage. Anyone residing in a key Florida media market for months has been seeing loads of ads attacking Bill Nelson, courtesy of GOP SuperPACs. Yes, Nelson currently has $10.7-million on hand, compared to $1.3-million for Mack, but GOP political committees already have spend more than $7-million tearing down Nelson on TV and it seems more likely than not that Republicans will end up outspending Democrats in Florida's senate race.

The fact that Nelson has dispatched his savvy chief of staff, Pete Mitchell, to lead his re-election campaign, speaks volumes. Plenty of Republicans are justifiably shaking their heads over the rocky performance of the Mack campaign to date, but Nelson is highly vulnerable. And he knows it.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 10:58am]


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