Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Connie Mack campaigns for U.S. Senate in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — Rep. Connie Mack IV isn't completely ignoring his GOP primary. Turns out, he voted early.

"What do you think?" Mack said Friday when a reporter asked who got his vote. "These are the type of crack questions that you get from some of the reporters."

Mack's comments came during a visit to Sayler's Suncoast Water, a Pinellas Park business that Mack used as a backdrop to try to link Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson to President Barack Obama, especially on health care reform. Mack also lambasted Obama for his "you didn't build that" comment regarding small businesses.

Mack, who irked activists by declining invitations to primary debates and has chastised Bill Nelson for focusing on his past instead of issues, said he's now waiting on Nelson to accept debate invitations. Mack refused to give more details.

"Nope, I can't, I can't," he said. "But you can ask Sen. Nelson when he's going to accept those debates."

Later on Twitter, Mack said that he had agreed to an October debate at the University of South Florida. The debate, Mack said, would be hosted by Tampa Bay CBS affiliate 10 News.

Nelson's campaign said it has accepted two fall debates — one hosted by CNN and the Tampa Bay Times, and another proposed by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.

"The schedule will probably permit two," said Nelson campaign manager Pete Mitchell. "That's usually what we've been able to do in the past."

Mack, a Fort Myers Republican, has a significant lead in the polls over his primary contenders.

Former Rep. Dave Weldon, though, has picked up support from social conservatives, including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Florida Right to Life. Mack loses points with these groups for his support of embryonic stem cell research.

Mack didn't make much of it, saying he felt good about Tuesday's primary.

"I think at the end of the day, the people of the state of Florida, we're going to win the (primary) election, and then we'll all come together and make sure that we can beat Sen. Nelson in November," he said.

Nelson also faces a primary challenge Tuesday from little known Democrat Glenn Burkett.

Katie Sanders can be reached at

Connie Mack campaigns for U.S. Senate in Pinellas Park 08/10/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What to watch this weekend: Grateful Dead documentary, 'House of Cards' returns Tuesday


    The Grateful Dead: Long Strange Trip

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in Season 5 of House of Cards on Netflix.
  2. Florida TaxWatch calls out $180 million of questionable spending in state budget


    Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee thinktank, has released its annual "budget turkey" list that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to veto nearly $180 million in special projects tucked into the budget, mostly in transportation.

    Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch's vice president for research, presents the organization's 2017 turkey list.
  3. U.S. plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind


    WASHINGTON — Preparing for North Korea's growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday.

    n this May 21 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.
  4. A breakdown of the proposed new state budget by the Florida Association of Counties.
  5. Gradebook podcast: Budgets, pre-k, achievement gap and more


    As classes let out across Florida, school district leaders continue to analyze how they're going to balance their budgets given the constraints proposed by state lawmakers.  Reporter Jeff Solochek and editor Tom Tobin discuss the concerns district finance officials are raising as they look at the budget while …