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Dave Weldon says he'll gain from LeMieux's exit from Senate race

Former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon says his last-minute Senate campaign will benefit from George LeMieux bowing out of the U.S. Senate race.

"I think it's going to really set up a classical match between a more moderate establishment candidate versus a grassroots conservative candidate," the Brevard County doctor told the Times/Herald.

The final straw for LeMieux was probably front-runner Connie Mack's endorsement from Freedom Works and a $1 million donation from casino boss Sheldon Adelson to a pro-Mack super PAC this week, he said. 

"George might have seen that as insurmountable," he said.

Weldon's challenge remains his unfamiliarity with voters -- and grassroots activists. He offered to fill in for LeMieux at an upcoming dinner of Clay County Republicans, he said, but even the county chairwoman didn't know who he was.

He wouldn't offer specifics, but he said donations are picking up today with news of LeMieux's exit. He said his team is in talks with Herman Cain, who endorsed LeMieux.

"I've got a whole bunch of offers that just came in through the last few hours," he said.