Do you know how long it took Former Senator George Lemieux to attack Connie Mack IV after he officially entered the GOP primary, in the Florida Senate race?
20 minutes. There was an email blast with a negative release about the South Florida congressman 20 minutes after he officially declared.
It made all of the political sense in the world. Mack IV was the frontrunner weeks before he declared his candidacy. The Lemieux opposition research machine was already running full speed in anticipation of his announcement in hopes suppressing enthusiasm and hindering fundraising efforts.
First they attacked Mack IV on his rowdy personal history. Fights with former baseball players, messy divorces, and references to the Hooters Sports Bar Franchises. They quickly labled him the “Charlie Sheen” of Florida Politics.
The image got decent pop with the media so, they released a web video and took the Sheen comparison to a new level with a “2 and a half Macks” parody of the popular TV show.
That would lead to the “Half Mack” label you hear the Lemieux campaign using today.
This was just the beginning.
They would attack Mack on his attendance record in Washington, claiming that “Half Mack” missed important votes all of the time.
They said that Mack IV called the Paul Ryan budget plan a joke.
There was buzz that a rift had formed between Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Mack over meeting arrangements during a Columbia visit.
Then came the “Lifestyles” webvid which questions the amount of time the Congressman actually spends in Florida.
After all of this, now we’ve got accusations of “Franking” or the practice of sending constituents mail that might double as campaign literature.
This aggressive, relentless attacking of Mack IV hasn’t stopped since his first breath as a candidate and after all of this he is still the frontrunner.
Lemieux had leverage on Mack IV in a few areas. He’s was the popular pick in many straw polls throughout the state and he did enjoy a certain measure of Tea Party support with the recent endorsement from Herman Cain.
Mack countered with endorsements from Tea Party leaders Michele Bachmann and more recently Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Those two names trump Cain’s damaged brand so, Lemieux’s edge in that arena might be withering.
Mack IV has kept his attacks limited to President Obama and longtime incumbent and general election opponent Senator Bill Nelson. Nelson currently leads both Lemieux and Mack IV in polling by double digits.
What could be a concern for both candidates is the presence of hunger for another option. Recently, Jeff Atwater considered a late entry into the race and yesterday former Congressman Dave Weldon voiced interests. If he were to jump in the race, he would face the challenge of standing up a campaign and rallying donors in a dangerously short amount of time.
We’ve got one candidate who’s valid attacks aren’t gaining him traction and another who’s been accused of being arrogant on the campaign trail.
It couples with a Mitt Romney campaign that’s getting over a long slog to the nomination, and forms an underwhelming battery that should be a concern for the GOP in Florida.
And the attacks won’t stop, if Mack IV wins, he’ll have to answer the same questions from Bill Nelson all over again and this time the entire electorate from a state that was blue in 2008 will be listening.