Sunday, May 20, 2018
Politics

Sen. Bill Nelson slightly ahead of Rep. Connie Mack IV in U.S. Senate poll

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson holds a narrow lead over his likely Republican challenger, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll.

Forty-seven percent of likely voters prefer Nelson, a Democrat, while 42 percent say they would choose U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, a Fort Myers Republican and likely GOP nominee. Eleven percent were undecided.

Only 36 percent of respondents like Nelson and 12 percent did not recognize him, a sign the Capitol Hill fixture could lose his seat if Mack steps up his fight.

"Nelson is vulnerable," said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, a nonpartisan, Jacksonville-based company that conducted the poll for the Times, Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13. The telephone survey of 800 registered Florida voters — all likely to vote in the November general election — was conducted July 9-11 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

"Mack has got the name and probably the party behind him, so he could be strong enough to pull it off," Coker said.

Nelson's support traditionally stems from his advocacy of military veterans and the space program, and he's failed to deliver in recent years, Coker said.

But the larger backdrop is an electorate that is dissatisfied with President Barack Obama and with the country's trajectory, the poll reveals.

That sentiment is echoed by Audrey Collette, 77, a retired property manager from Lake Wales, who said she was once excited about Obama but will now vote for a Republican president and senator. She knows little about Mack beyond his name, but thinks he must be better than Nelson.

"I just don't like (Nelson)," she said. "I think he's too much like Barack Obama, and that doesn't excite me."

Retired Pan American employee Frank Berry of Jupiter, a self-described liberal Democrat, said he would support Nelson every day of the week, each minute of the day.

"Connie Mack is a lightweight," he said.

But he acknowledges he doesn't quite know what Nelson has done as U.S. senator.

"On a scale of one to 10, he's a six," Berry said, when asked to rate Nelson's job performance. "He's so low key, he doesn't tout what he's pushed. To tell you the truth, I don't know what he's pushed. What bill did he push? I don't know of any. I don't see Bill Nelson as having a mission, or having anything that he's enthusiastic about."

In a January poll, Nelson was beating Mack 45-42.

Both Nelson and Mack have primary opponents but are favored to win.

Nelson faces little known Glenn A. Burkett, of Naples, who also ran for Senate in 2010.

Running along with Mack in the Republican primary are retired Army Col. Mike McCalister, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and Naples-area conservative Marielena Stuart.

Times staff writers Katie Sanders and Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.

Comments
‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

‘World’s most expensive Witch Hunt’: Trump lashes out at New York Times, Democrats

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump lashed out Sunday at "the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt," trashing a new report in the New York Times that said an emissary representing the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates offered help...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Obama’s education secretary: Let’s boycott school until gun laws change

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan pushed a radical idea on Twitter: Parents should pull their children out of school until elected officials pass stricter gun control laws.His tweet came hours after a shooting rampage at a Houston-area high scho...
Updated: 10 hours ago
China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

China offers to buy more US products to reduce trade imbalance

WASHINGTON - China offered to boost its annual purchases of U.S. products by "at least $200 billion" Friday as two days of talks aimed at averting an open breach between the two countries ended in Washington, a top White House adviser said.Larry Kudl...
Published: 05/19/18
Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

Hillsborough candidate falsified contract for fund-raising gospel concert, lawsuit says

TAMPA — A concert organizer is accusing Hillsborough County Commission candidate Elvis Piggott of falsifying a contract and prompting the headline act to pull out of a gospel show.In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Corey Curry claims h...
Published: 05/18/18
Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA chief despite scrutiny of her role in interrogation program

WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA director after several Democrats were persuaded to support her despite lingering concerns about her role in the brutal interrogation of suspected terrorists captured after ...
Published: 05/17/18
GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

GOP pushes for speedy confirmation vote for CIA nominee

WASHINGTON — Republicans are pushing for a speedy confirmation vote as early as Thursday after the Senate intelligence committee endorsed President Donald Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency. But opponents concerned about Haspel’s ...
Published: 05/16/18
Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick to lead CIA, wins support of Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON - The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.The committee vot...
Published: 05/16/18
Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

Carlton: Time for Hillsborough’s Uncle Tom Road to go — but artfully.

In Hillsborough County — where one of the world’s largest Confederate flags still flies near a busy interstate — you may not be surprised to learn there’s an Uncle Tom Road.The name is a flash point and a slur, shorthand for a black person who will d...
Published: 05/16/18
Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell drops out of Pinellas Commission race

With six months to go before the Nov. 6 election, Clearwater Vice Mayor Doreen Caudell on Monday dropped her bid against Pinellas County Commissioner Pat Gerard for the at-large District 2 seat.Caudell said she decided she’d better be better suited f...
Published: 05/14/18
Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

Romano: Hey Gov. Scott, could you hire me, too?

To: The Honorable Gov. Rick ScottDear Governor,It has come to my attention that your administration has recently made some, dare I say, innovative hires for important government positions in the months before you leave office.At the risk of sounding ...
Published: 05/14/18