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It's official: Dave Weldon to run for U.S. Senate in Florida

Former Florida Congressman Dave Weldon announced Friday that he will join a crowded field of Republicans seeking to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

“We are at a time in our nation’s history where we the people have to make tough choices that will determine our national direction for the next 4 years ... choices that determine America’s direction for decades,” Weldon, who represented the Space Coast from 1994-2008, said in a written statement.

Weldon’s entrance in the race comes as Congressman Connie Mack is solidifying his spot as the GOP frontrunner, having received the endorsement this week of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Mack has about $1 million in the bank. So does former Sen. George LeMieux. A third candidate, businessman Mike McCalister, trails badly in money and name-recognition.

Weldon decided to enter the race because none of the candidates is connecting with conservatives, his campaign says.

“He’s on the ground in Florida everyday. There is no authentic conservative in the race. We’ve got two moderates fighting it out,” said spokesman Hogan Gidley.

The other Republican candidates are all campaigning to be the most conservative.

Though Weldon is little-known outside his Space Coast district, his fledgling campaign says he’ll be stumping the state as soon as  Saturday, said Gidley, who served as spokesman for former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

“We’re used to being the underdog, underfunded and discounted,” Gidley said.

Gidley said Weldon’s record in Congress shows he’s both a solid Republican, a supporter of balanced budgets and an effective lawmaker who knows how to get Washington working.

Because he was in Congress for so long, opponents are already whispering about how many home-town spending projects called “earmarks” he was responsible for. Asked about that, Gidley said “that’s a battle for another time.”

But the time is drawing near. The Aug. 14 primary just over three months away.

The Crowley Political Report found/got dished Weldon's first video (below):


The press release:

Orlando, FL – Former Florida Congressman, Dr. Dave Weldon announced today that he will run for the United States Senate.

Dr. Dave Weldon said, “We are at a time in our nation’s history where we the people have to make tough choices that will determine our national direction for the next 4 years . . . choices that determine Americas direction for decades.

Many Floridians feel President Obama has traded America's greatness for international acceptance, turned his back on our Constitution and the intentions of our founding fathers and crushed the economic engine that helped make America great.”

Weldon served Florida’s 15th District as a Congressman in 1995 – and became part of the first Republican majority in the U. S. House in 40 years. During his time in Congress, Weldon stood up for conservative values and cut spending, reduced taxes and reformed welfare. In fact, they were even able to balance the budget and create surpluses.

Dr. Weldon said he enjoys practicing medicine and that he wasn’t looking to change his life and return to Washington – however, he said he just couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore and watch our freedoms being systematically stripped away.

Weldon said, “Someone has to do something to provide a Conservative answer to the problems the Administration has created and the current Senate has endorsed. We can’t keep racking up debt and placing it on the backs of our children. It’s time to stop the spending and balance the budget again. Together, we can change Washington – I helped do it once – and I can help do it again.”