Scratch a big name off the list of Republicans eager to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, son of the former senator with the same name, announced Friday that he'll seek re-election rather than run for U.S. Senate.
"I've got two small children, and it's hard enough to get to spend a lot of good quality time now. I have a wife. They are all very important to me, and at the end of the day family has to be No. 1," Mack told the St. Petersburg Times.
With a well-known name, Mack was leading other Republican contenders in early polls, and many Republicans had expected him to jump in after he promised a "major announcement" about the campaign against "liberal incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson."
Mack said his wife, Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California, his kids and parents encouraged him to run, and politically it made a lot of sense.
But the three-term representative also considered his position in Congress, saying he can be a leading advocate for cutting spending and taxes. And as chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, the 43-year-old Fort Myers Republican also is a top voice on Latin America and challenging Venezuela President Hugo Chavez.
Other Republicans running or expected to run include state Senate President Mike Haridopolos of Merritt Island, retired Col. Mike McCallister of Plant City, former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner of Boca Raton and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux of Fort Lauderdale. Mack said he has not made any decision about endorsing in the primary but will not let up his criticism of incumbent Sen. Nelson.
"Florida deserves a senator who walks and talks the same way," said Mack. "Sen. Nelson wants to try to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Florida by voting as a liberal in Washington and then coming back home and pretending he's a moderate."