February 22, 2012

LeMieux says Mack is "the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics"

U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux skewered Congressman Connie Mack on Wednesday for years of overspending and decades-old bar fights, quipping Mack's record makes him the "Charlie Sheen of Florida politics."

"You can't come away from a rap sheet like this and conclude anything other than Connie Mack IV is the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics," he said. "Mack IV does not have the temperament or the character to serve in the United States Senate."

Continue reading "LeMieux says Mack is "the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics"" »

Appraiser will examine Connie Mack's tax-break 'conundrum.' But congressman's probably in the clear.

The property appraiser overseeing Senate candidate Connie Mack’s homestead exemption says he’ll double-check to make sure the congressman is legally getting the tax break.

But Mack is probably in the clear – even though his wife, California Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack has a homestead exemption in her district -- said Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson.

“I think they’ll be ok. That’s my gut feeling,” Wilkinson said. “But I now have an obligation to check this out.”

The issue cropped up shortly after Mack criticized Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for taking advantage of another tax break, an agricultural exemption, on a Brevard property that has cows on it.

Like Nelson’s agricultural exemption, Mack’s homestead exemption case isn’t easy to figure.

Continue reading "Appraiser will examine Connie Mack's tax-break 'conundrum.' But congressman's probably in the clear." »

February 20, 2012

Connie Mack blames divorce for financial mess, but records suggest he overspent regardless of ex

U.S. Senate candidate Connie Mack explained Sunday for the first time why he spent more than he earned at times, pinning financial problems on his divorce.

“I think it’s ridiculous the fact that the issue has even come up that way,” Mack, the Republican front-runner who has called for fiscal austerity during his campaign, said after a candidates’ forum. “Everyone knows that divorce is difficult.”

Even though his divorce certainly contributed to his financial problems, it does not account for all the troubles he was having.

In 2004, for instance, he didn’t have enough money to pay his federal income taxes, and borrowed the money from his father. He didn’t file for divorce until August 2005 — months after tax-filing season — when his then-wife, Ann McGillicuddy, was on vacation in Fort Lauderdale.

Mack, elected to Congress in 2004, said he could not recall how much he borrowed from his father, former-senator-turned-lobbyist Connie Mack III.

“But look, did I borrow money from my father? Yeah, but if anybody has been through a divorce they recognize that it’s difficult, it’s hard, and it takes a while to get your financial house back in order,” he said.

Three months after filing for divorce, Mack submitted a financial affidavit to the court that indicated he was spending almost $2,300 more than he netted each month. Even without all of the incidentals of his wife — a stay-at-home mother of two small children — Mack was still overspending by about $655 monthly, the affidavit indicates.

Today's story here

Background and some source documents on Mack's finances here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/02/20/2651105/fla-senate-candidate-mack-says.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy

February 17, 2012

Shadow political committee targets Connie "Mini Mack" in Senate race

Just after our piece on Connie Mack and his finances posted today, someone informed us of the existence of this shadowy political committee, Coral Gables-based Saving Florida's Future, which is targeting the Republican Senate candidate, using a blend of lawyer-union-Democrat-business money. It quietly posed a web ad mocking "Mini Mack" for trading off his father's name, connections, etc. (Video below)

This looks like the first Super PAC to get involved in Florida's U.S. Senate race. And it likely won't be the last. The treasurer is Ben Pollara, a President Obama fundraiser and supporter of Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson.

Some noteworthy contributors to its relatively small $135,661kitty:

*Incepture, a Jacksonville staffing agency, which gave $100,000.It dropped $225,000 last election cycle in Florida, with $100,000 to Gov. Rick Scott's Let's Get to Work committee, a previous $100,000 for the Bill McCollum committee that attacked him (Freedom First), $5,00 for state Sen. Anitere Flores and then $25,000 for the Florida Democratic Party.

*C.C. Dockery, husband of Republican state Sen. Paula Dockery (a supporter of Republican Senate candidate George LeMieux) who gave $10,000

*Sheet Metal Workers' International (which is no fan of LeMieux for the way his former law firm, Gunster Yoakley, handled a labor dispute involving foreign workers) gave $10,000

*Mundy Katowitz, a Washington-based Democratic media firm that contributed $5,661

*Akerman Senterfitt, a massive Miami-based law and lobby firm, gave $5,000

*Michael A. Singer, an Alachua-based owner of Medical Manager Corp gave $5,000. It ran into a buzzsaw of legal trouble, and separately appears to have contributed $500 to former state Sen. Rod Smith, now the head of the Florida Democratic Party.

February 10, 2012

In Senate campaign, Bill Nelson clearly criticizes Obama contraception rule before Connie Mack, George LeMieux

In looking at the Twitter stream, Google, and campaign emails and websites of Republican Senate candidates Connie Mack and George LeMieux, there's one hot-button Republican issue they haven't gone out of their way to talk about: contraception, specifically the Obama Administration rule that requires religiously-run insurance plans to offer it.

But Obama's fellow Democrat, Bill Nelson, has offered up an opinion on the rule. And he doesn't like it because there's no religious opt-out.

"My position is that church affiliated organizations should be exempt, not just churches," Nelson said yesterday.

Nelson's statement was another sign that the two-term senator was backing away from the president (note: Nelson backed Obama's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the 08 Democratic primary).

While Nelson's criticism stands out, so does the apparent absence of talk (or perhaps proactive criticism by Mack and LeMieux while the rest of the Republican Party seems to take up arms against the contraception rule. Mack was on CNN this morning and has done a few radio interviews at the American Conservative Union's CPAC press conference, so he was likely asked about it by some reporter. If so, it shows Mack needed to be asked about it before he made it a big deal.

Update: Mack's campaign pointed out that, after Nelson's comment, it issued a press release attacking "Bill Nelson’s convenient political revisionism" and said he "owns ObamaCare." The word "contraception" appears at the bottom of the press release and doesn't actually give Mack's position (he's likely opposed) on the matter.

It underscores the fact that Mack and LeMieux are running economy-based, centrist campaigns that aren't always serving up the red-meat social issues that some Republicans crave.

It might be good politics. There's a possibility the Obama Administration could be a winner over the issue, even if it offers up a religious exemption.

Compare that relative silence to the stance of the Florida Republican they want to join in the Senate, Marco Rubio. He has sponsored legislation to repeal the contraception rule. And Rubio went out of his way during his CPAC speech to bash the Obama Administration provision.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/bill_nelson/#storylink=cpy


January 07, 2012

Adam Hasner loses his mouthpiece..... to New Jersey GOP

Doug Mayer, described here in July as US Senate candidate Adam Hasner's new mouthpiece, has left Florida for the verdant splendor of the Garden State, where he's the new spokesman for the New Jersey Republican Party, according to Politicker NJ.

Mayer's departure isn't a big shock for Hasner. There's relatively little attention being paid to the Republican Senate race amid the jockeying for Florida's Jan. 31 GOP presidential primary. There's just not much for a spokesman to say. Also, Hasner is struggling in the bottom of the polls right now, which can affect fundraising, which makes it tougher to pay a spokesman who has not much to say.

The voluble Rick Wilson and Alberto Martinez are still with Hasner. And we recently got a press release from someone named Hannah Tarrian, so Hasner might still be overstaffed.

Hasner still has time. The primary is  Aug. 14. That's a few lifetimes in politics. Still, US Rep. Connie Mack is dominating in the primary and former Sen. George LeMieux looks like a distant number 2 in most polls. Hasner is often vying in the single digits with Mike McCalister and Craig Miller.

December 01, 2011

George LeMieux camp touts Miami-Dade support

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful George LeMieux's campaign put out a list of Miami-Dade supporters, including state Sen. Rene Garcia of Hialeah, County Commissioner Lynda Bell, Miami City Commissioner Francis Suarez and School Board member Carlos Curbelo, who worked for LeMieux in Washington.

Here's the press release:

Continue reading "George LeMieux camp touts Miami-Dade support" »

November 29, 2011

Connie Mack to focus on "lockstep liberals" of D.C. in his Senate campaign

Forget his Republican primary opponents. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, brushed them aside while talking to reporters Tuesday about his decision to run for U.S. Senate. His target, Mack said, is incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.  

"The idea that Washington will solve all of our problems is a failed model," Mack said. "Senator Nelson has stood side by side with President Obama...and I don't think I can say it any more clear than that."

Mack said he intends to focus on Nelson's record of supporting the policies of President Barack Obama's administration. He pointed specifically to health care legislation, the stimulus package, support for raising the  debt ceiling and close relations to labor unions.

"The people of the state of Florida? What they're telling me is they've had enough," Mack said. "They've had enough of the lockstep liberals in Washington fighting for more government control of their lives."

Nelson's campaign had this statement: "There’s a dozen candidates on the Republican side and the primary isn’t until late next summer. In other words, it’s a little early to be talking about the election.  Bill’s really just focused on doing his job in the Senate. He’s always felt that if you just do your job the politics will take care of itself." 

Continue reading "Connie Mack to focus on "lockstep liberals" of D.C. in his Senate campaign" »

October 31, 2011

PolitiFact Florida: Did Adam Hasner get an F from the Christian Coalition?

Is Republican U.S. Senate candidate Adam Hasner a failure according to the Christian Coalition?

That's what one of Hasner's primary opponents, George LeMieux, wants voters to think. A video we saw on LeMieux's website, www.phonyconservative.com, on Oct. 5, picks apart Hasner's record as a former state legislator:

"In politics talk is cheap. Voting records matter. Career politician Adam Hasner wants you to think he is a conservative," states the sinister voice as images of Hasner speaking in the Legislature appear on the screen. "Small problem. His record. Hasner used to describe himself as a 'moderate' because his support for stem cell research, his attempt to weaken pro-life laws and his opposition to expanding school vouchers. The Christian Coalition gave Hasner an F...." states the voice as the screen flashes to a 2007 report card highlighting that Hasner scored 57.1.

We're wondering about that "F" for Hasner, who is trying to tout his conservative credentials. Ouch. Does this LeMieux claim make the grade?

Read PolitiFact Florida's ruling here.