With Memorial Day weekend behind them, two of the Republicans hoping to challenge U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson added to their teams, unveiling major endorsements.
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, who is the poll leader among Republicans in the race, named eight campaign chairmen on Tuesday, including some of the most prominent GOP leaders in the Sunshine State.
“I am proud that these distinguished conservative leaders from all across Florida have agreed to lead my campaign to balance America's budget and stand up for America's constitutional rights,” Mack said before ripping into Nelson. “These are the areas in which Bill Nelson has most failed us, and I am confident that with this team, we will be able to defeat the Obama-Nelson liberal agenda. Our leadership group is representative of several different Republican movements in the last decade, and they will help us take our message to all precincts in all corners of Florida.”
Mack’s chairmen include two former speakers of the Florida House -- Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, and Allan Bense. The congressman also named two former Cabinet officials -- former Attorney General Bill McCollum and former Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson -- as chairmen of his campaign. Jeb Bush Jr., the son of the former governor who has been politically active in recent years, including a high-profile leadership role in Jon Huntsman’s failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination, was also named to the Mack team. So were businessman Stanley Tate and Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, the wife of Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island. While Mike Haridopolos had originally intended to run against Nelson, he pulled out of the race last year to support Mack. Mack had been a Haridopolos supporter. But after the Senate president headed to the sidelines, he entered the race himself.
One of Mack’s main rivals for the Republican nomination also unveiled a prominent endorsement on Tuesday when State Attorney Angela Corey, now in the national spotlight for her role in the Trayvon Martin case, announced that she is backing former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux for the Republican nomination to challenge Nelson.
“For years, I have known George LeMieux and seen the positive impact he has had on our state and nation,” said Corey on Tuesday. “During his time as the deputy attorney general, George fought for justice and successfully argued a death penalty case before the U.S. Supreme Court. While serving in the Senate, George LeMieux made reducing the debt his top priority and showed true leadership. George has always been a friend to Northeast Florida and I look forward to seeing him serve us once again in the U.S. Senate."
“For more than 30 years, Angela has worked to make Northeast Florida safer -- first as an assistant state attorney and now as the state attorney for the 4th Judicial Circuit,” said LeMieux. “As former deputy attorney general, I know how hard our prosecutors work. Angela is widely known for her fairness, integrity, and work ethic and I am honored to have her support.”
Other Republican hopefuls include former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and businessman Mike McCalister.
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