October 17, 2012

PolitiFact Florida checks out claims from Nelson-Mack debate

U.S Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Connie Mack IV unleashed a slew of familiar attacks during the first and only debate of their U.S. Senate battle, hitting each other on health care, missed votes and, well, cows.

The banter provided plenty of fact-checking fodder for PolitiFact Florida.

Mack, the Republican challenger, went after Nelson for his support of President Barack Obama’s health care law with talking points we’ve checked before: that he was the deciding vote, and that he "voted to cut $700 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare."

We rated Mack’s $700 billion claim Mostly False, noting that these “cuts” come from reduced payments to insurance companies and hospitals over the next 10 years, and that part of the savings cover lower prescription drug payments for Medicare recipients as well as free preventative care.

Mack stuck to another attack line throughout the night: Nelson voted to raise taxes 150 times.

"Bill Nelson voted for higher taxes 150 times, 150 times," Mack said. "I voted to cut taxes … if you voted for higher taxes 150 times, it's time for you to go."

Continue reading "PolitiFact Florida checks out claims from Nelson-Mack debate" »

October 16, 2012

Mack's consultant, Arthur Finkelstein, makes case for why every pollster has it wrong

We're really not too sure if this is news but Republican Connie Mack's political consultant Arthur Finkelstein thinks he can win.

Nontheless, his analysis is telling and the fact they he's posted on the candidates's web site for the world to hold him accountable for it come Nov. 7 is worth noting.

Here it is:

Continue reading "Mack's consultant, Arthur Finkelstein, makes case for why every pollster has it wrong" »

October 15, 2012

Mack pulls out the mom -- and dad -- card in new ad

Republican Connie Mack IV pulls out the mom card in a new warm and fuzzy ad featuring his mother, Priscilla Mack, who declares her son was "a good kid, a bit of a handful -- we mothers understand." An approving son and husband -- the former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack -- look at each other from the background.

"Who knew he wants to change the world? But he does,'' Pricilla says. "Who knew my other Connie can make a difference?" she adds as the camera focuses on pictures of the elder Mack, now 71.

The ad is clearly an attempt to improve Mack's image after the pummeling he received from the aggressive attack ads run by Democrat Bill Nelson.

Mom ads have been pretty effective in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott used his mother, Esther, in a successful ad campaign in the fall of 2010 to counter the beating he was getting when Democrat Alex Sink focused on the Medicare fraud charges at his former company. Esther Scott ended the ad: "He's a good boy. He'll get Florida back to work."

Democrat Jeff Greene also used his mother to help clean up his image in his run for U.S. Senate. Barbara Greene promised "My Jeff, he'll shake things up in Washington." Greene lost the nomination though, and didn't get to DC after all.


October 12, 2012

Herald/Times poll: Nelson up 47-42 over Mack

Independent voters and party switchers are providing the edge for Democrat Bill Nelson as he maintains his lead over Republican challenger Connie Mack in the U.S. Senate race, according to a new Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald/Tampa Bay Times poll.

Mack narrowed the margin to 47 to 42 percent, three points tighter than it was last month, but the Fort Myers congressman didn’t seem to benefit from the eight-point surge of support for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Florida.

Nelson continues to lead among voters who are not affiliated with any party, getting 51 percent support among independent voters to Mack’s 37 percent.

The Orlando Democrat also enjoys some crossover appeal, with 6 percent of the voters surveyed voting for both Romney and Nelson.

“This isn’t a wave election so you may see some purposeful ticket-splitting because people are a little bit divided in their view over what the parties are offering,’’ said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker.

The telephone survey of 800 registered Florida voters — all likely to vote in the November election — was conducted Oct. 8-10 for the Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13. The poll, which included respondents using land-lines and cell phones, was conducted by Mason-Dixon, a nonpartisan, Jacksonville-based company. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points. Story here.

The Mack campaign issued the following statement from campaign manager Jeff Cohen:

Continue reading "Herald/Times poll: Nelson up 47-42 over Mack" »

October 11, 2012

Nelson out with new Mack attack


The drumbeat continues with a new ad out today from Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who is attacking Republican opponent Connie Mack for being a shill for the special interests. The allegations were first reported in a Tampa Tribune story here.

Mack's campaign responded that Nelson is more interested in defending Argentina's dictators than he is Americans. His campaign response follows:

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October 10, 2012

Mack raises $2.7 million in third quarter

Republican Senate candidate Connie Mack IV had his strongest fundraising quarter yet this fall, raising over $2.7 million in the race to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, Mack's campaign reported Wednesday. 

"Of that total, over $295,000 was raised from July 1 – July 25 and was reported on the pre-primary FEC report. The remainder, over $2.42 million, was raised between July 26 and September 30," the campaign said in a statement. 

Mack, who had raised $839,000 in the second quarter and had only $1.39 million in the bank by June 30, has relied on third party groups to assist him in the expensive ad wars while Nelson has funded most of his race himself.  

Nelson had raised $13 million and had $11 million in the bank after the June reporting period ended. He has used it to finance attack ads against Mack that began in early August. The tactic has helped to repress any momentum Mack could have gotten after his primary victory over former Congressman Dave Weldon.

Update: Nelson reported raising $2.3 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30 and has $6.5 million on hand.

Polls continue to show Nelson with a steady lead. A WeAskAmerica poll on Monday had the two candidates tied, a Rasmussen Reports poll on the same day showed Nelson ahead by 11 points. The RealClearPolitics average shows Nelson still up by 5.6 points with a month left in the campaign.

Mack has been assisted by the conservative Americans for Prosperity, Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul's RAND PAC which have each run attack ads against Nelson.

October 09, 2012

Now in the game for Mack: Ann Romney and Rand Paul

U.S. Senate candidate, Republican Connie Mack IV, is getting some fielding assistance from two very different places in his party as Ann Romney headlines a fundraiser in Sarasota on Thursday and Rand Paul's political committee released a one-minute ad attacking Democrat Bill Nelson.

Romney, who was scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Mack during the RNC, agree to reschedule for the $2,500 per person event this week, said Mack spokesman David James.

The ad, paid for by RAND PAC, a political committee by the Kentucky senator, attacks Nelson for his support of foreign aid to Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt. Paul said he is spending six figures on the ad in Florida.

“Our country is $16 trillion in debt and faces yet another trillion dollar deficit,” Paul said in a statement. “It makes no sense to send our hared-earned taxpayer dollars overseas, especially to countries with hostile governments that hate us."

Meanwhile Tuesday, Mack picked up the endorsement of the Florida Medical Association PAC, which opposes the federal health care reform act.

George 'never mind' LeMieux, Huizenga host fundraiser for Mack

10.10.12+Huizenga+Event+InvitationFormer Republican challenger George LeMieux has clearly has had a change of heart about his one-time opponent Connie Mack IV.

When LeMieux was still in the race, he told MSNBC that he considered Mack "the least qualified person to run for major office" and accused him of running a campaign "where people will mistake him for his father."

Now he's hosting a $5,000 per person fundraiser with businessman and GOP donor H. Wayne Huizenga tomorrow at Huizenga Holdings in Fort Lauderdale to benefit Mack.

Also on the host committee: Rick Case, John Ferrando, Steven W. Hudson, Justin Sayfie and Zachariah Zachariah.


October 04, 2012

FL Hispanic poll: Obama 61-Romney 31. About half know an illegal immigrant

Hispanic voters in Florida heavily favor President Obama, strongly back his immigration positions and are highly enthusiastic about voting, according to a new poll.

Also, about half of all the voters know someone who is illegally in the country, according to the survey of 400 registered Florida Hispanics conducted for America’s Voice, a group that advocates for liberal immigration policies.

Obama pulls 61 percent Hispanic support compared to 31 percent for Republican Mitt Romney, the poll showed.

The Hispanic support measured in the poll mirrors other Florida surveys that show Obama with a large lead among this crucial and growing segment of the Florida electorate, who comprises about 14 percent of the active voter rolls. Still, this 30-point margin is the largest Obama lead to date.

Unlike other surveys The America’s Voice poll delves more deeply into the issue of immigration with Hispanics and shows how it appears to play in Obama’s favor.

“Latinos are more engaged in this issue of immigration regardless of where you live in the country,” said University of Miami political science professor Casey Klofstad, who studies the nuances of Florida’s Hispanic vote.

Continue reading "FL Hispanic poll: Obama 61-Romney 31. About half know an illegal immigrant" »

October 02, 2012

Florida Chamber writes to Bill Nelson, Fla. Congressional delegation over understaffed MIA terminal

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is asking Sen. Bill Nelson to beef up government spending at Miami International Airport in order to address a problem of delays and missed flights.

Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last month asking for more customs officials at MIA, and the Chamber backed him up this week with a letter to Nelson and other members of the Florida Congressional delegation.

"As Gov Scott noted in his letter, the customs problem at MIA makes Florida less competitive on the international stage," Florida Chamber president David Hart wrote. "More than 30,000 international travelers missed their connecting flights at MIA after waiting for customs in August 2012."

It's not clear if the Chamber sent similar requests to Sen. Marco Rubio, or the other Republican members of congress who are from South Florida, where MIA is located.

Update: The Florida Chamber said it sent similar letters to other members of the Florida congressional delegation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has targeted Nelson with millions of dollars in attack ads as he faces Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack.

Read the Chamber's letter, which was re-posted by Scott's press office today, here.