In a series of one-two-three blows, George LeMieux's Senate campaign has been staggered by anemic fundraising, the specter of a big-name Republican jumping into the race and new court documents that make him a witness in the criminal case against the former governor’s hand-picked Republican Party of Florida chairman.
Now some are wondering how long LeMieux’s campaign will last.
LeMieux knows he's struggling against fellow Congressman Connie Mack of Fort Myers.
“Do I have an uphill climb? Sure I do,” LeMieux said. “I’m not the frontrunner in this race. I’m the underdog. Connie Mack the Fourth is the establishment candidate.”
LeMieux’s campaign got even tougher this week when Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater said he was considering entering the Republican race to unseat Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
As a statewide office-holder and solid-fundraiser, Atwater would pose an immediate threat to Mack’s top-dog status and would further threaten the viability of LeMieux’s candidacy.
Mack, the namesake of a former Senator and baseball player, raised nearly three-times the money last quarter as LeMieux, who reported Friday taking in just $305,000.
The day he reported his fundraising numbers, LeMieux was dealt another setback when he was mentioned in connection with the fraud case against former RPOF Chairman Jim Greer. Greer is accused of defrauding the party for allegedly setting up a dummy company and funneling some of the party’s fundraising proceeds to himself.
Greer says he’s innocent, and that the fundraising work he did saved the party money and was legitimate.