Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
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LeMieux wins another straw poll
Posted Apr 12, 2012 by William March
Updated Apr 12, 2012 at 04:11 PM
George LeMieux has won another straw poll in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, this one held by the East Manatee Republican Club.
Club President Joan Shirey said 60 club members voted after hearing LeMieux and Mike McCalister give short speeches and answer questions from the audience.
The best-known candidate in the primary race, Connie Mack IV, wanted to attend but couldn’t because he was preparing to go to Colombia as leader of the congressional delegation to the Summit of the Americas, said spokesman David James.
Shirey said someone else kept the actual vote count and she didn’t know it, but the percentage results were: LeMieux 60 percent; McCalister 34 percent; Mack 6 percent.
She said she thought at least part of the reason for Mack’s loss was simply his absence—“If you can’t come to these events, you’re simply out in left field.” But she also said she has heard some members object to some of Mack’s campaign statements, including his call for a “repeal Congress,” and his absence meant they couldn’t get answers to questions about those issues.
She said club members liked LeMieux’s promise to serve no more than two terms.
It’s the third straw poll LeMieux has won, following a tea party convention straw poll in Orlando two weeks ago and a Federation of Republican Women straw poll last month.
James said Mack wanted to come to the event and asked for an alternate date, but was told no alternate date was available, and had to decline because of the possibility the military aircraft carrying the delegation might leave today. Mack is chairman of the western hemisphere subcommittee of the House foreign affairs committee.
On the significance of LeMieux’s straw poll wins, James said, “Statewide poll numbers time and again have proven Connie Mack to be the only one who can defeat Bill Nelson. You can’t handpick the participants in a statewide random poll.”