Thursday, December 14, 2017
Politics

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 [email protected]

Comments
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he’s not leaving Congress anytime soon, trying to squelch rumors that he will walk away in triumph after the Republicans’ treasured tax bill is approved. Politico and the Huffington Post published re...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his weekend departure for the Middle East as Congress nears completion of a tax overhaul, his office announced Thursday. White House officials said Pence now plans to leave for Egypt on Tuesday so he...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

WASHINGTON — A draft statement former FBI director James Comey prepared in anticipation of concluding the Hillary Clinton email case without criminal charges was heavily edited to change the "tone and substance" of the remarks, a Republican senator s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
William March: AG candidate Ashley Moody called ‘liberal;’ bill takes Orlando money for Tampa transit

William March: AG candidate Ashley Moody called ‘liberal;’ bill takes Orlando money for Tampa transit

Ideological divides in Florida’s Republican attorney general primary race are producing some early negative campaigning, with a strong Tampa Bay area flavor.State Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, one of four candidates, has attacked the early frontrunn...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant."Go home, Spencer!" they shouted, as the exasperated white nationalist paced the stage, pleading to be heard.Were the students exerc...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Nationally, the word "evangelical" has become in recent years nearly synonymous with "conservative Republican" and Alabama is one of the most evangelical states in the country. But in Alabama, there is a difference: black Christians.While in many par...
Published: 12/13/17
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to fill fellow Democrat Al Franken’s Senate seat until a special election in November, setting up his longtime and trusted adviser for a potentially bruising 2018...
Published: 12/13/17
Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Still-uncounted ballots are unlikely to change the outcome of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama enough to spur an automatic recount, the state’s election chief said Wednesday as Democratic victor Doug Jones urged Republican Roy Moore...
Published: 12/13/17
Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

The Democrats’ seismic victory Tuesday in the unlikely political battleground of Alabama brought jubilation — and a sudden a rush of confidence — to a party that has been struggling to gain its footing since Donald Trump won the presidency 13 months ...
Published: 12/13/17
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Published: 12/12/17