George LeMieux Drops Out of Fla. U.S. Senate Race

It's a campaign that has its roots in the day nearly three years ago when former Governor Charlie Crist tapped his friend and political advisor George LeMieux to go to Washington.

Since then, LeMieux and Crist have had a very public falling out, one some say is all about LeMieux's desire to return to the Senate.

He's been trying to prove he's his own man, and a conservative one at that, but Wednesday LeMieux ended his Senate campaign in a blunt video.

"It is not my nature to step aside, but there is a reality to running a statewide race in Florida: without the resources or the opportunity to debate, our message simply cannot be heard."

According to LeMieux, the GOP establishment has all but anointed Connie Mack, a congressman with a well-known family name, plenty of money, and a double-digit lead, but most importantly Mack refuses to debate.

"Without debates and without money, LeMieux has no path."

Democratic political strategist Steve Sschale agrees with LeMieux - his only chance of beating Mack was to score a direct hit in a debate. But he also predicts Mack could have a more difficult campaign against incumbent Bill Nelson in the fall.

"Going into a general with Nelson, a guy who's won four times in a row, clearly a statesman, there's still questions about whether Mack's electable, and the primary could have solved that for him, but now it's no chance," Schale said.

Indeed, Nelson has close to $10 million in the bank, money he could use on repeating many of LeMieux's attacks on Mack, including that he's a 'Charlie Sheen of Florida politics' who's not ready for the U.S. Senate.

Congressman Mack says he agrees with LeMieux that the internal fight among republicans would not have been helpful in their shared commitment to defeat Bill Nelson. Mack still faces a handful of lesser-known primary opponents, including former Army Colonel Mike McCalister and former central Florida Congressman Dave Weldon.


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