Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
Reporter James L. Rosica covers state government from the Tribune's Tallahassee bureau. Email
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LeMieux bows out
Posted Jun 20, 2012 by William March
Updated Jun 20, 2012 at 11:11 AM
George LeMieux has announced he is bowing out of the Republican U.S. Senate primary and will support Connie Mack IV, whom he once called “the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics.”
LeMieux made the announcement in a video news release emailed to supporters a few minutes ago—see it here.
In the video, LeMieux sounds less than enthusiastic about supporting Mack, saying he’s dropping out only because he can’t raise enough money for advertising to overcome Mack’s name recognition advantage, and can’t get televised debate exposure because Mack refuses to debate.
To continue his campaign, he says, “would only hurt our chances in the fall and that is not something that I will risk.”
But he ends the message, “Connie Mack will be our nominee. He has my support.”
Update: A LeMieux campaign spokeswoman said LeMieux won’t be available for interviews about his decision.
Here’s the reaction from Mack:
“We welcome the latest statement form George LeMieux and agree that the internal fight among Republicans would not have been helpful in our shared commitment to defeat Bill Nelson. I welcome and thank George for his decision to support my campaign.
“I urge all the citizens of Florida who want less government, less taxing, less spending and more freedom to now join with us in our campaign to defeat Bill Nelson and to help Mitt Romney defeat Barack Obama.
“This election is the most important in our life time. Our very freedom, security and prosperity hang in the balance. Bill Nelson and Barack Obama have put our country on the road to Greece. Make no mistake, the people of Florida have had more than enough of these failed LockStep Liberals.
“Together we will win in November and restore America’s promise and purpose.”