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Mack announces social conservative backers

Posted May 15, 2012 by William March

Updated May 15, 2012 at 03:59 PM

Rep. Connie Mack has announced a team of social conservative backers in his U.S. Senate campaign, with former state Sen. Pat Neal of Bradenton, a former state Christian Coalition chairman, as the most prominent name.

Others on the team include Conservative activist and blogger Christian Camara of Tallahassee; Tarpon Springs school headmaster and political activist John Giotis; pro-life activist Lois Jones of Homestead; Warren Lutz of Cutler Bay; Mike Rodriguez of Miami; former Jeb Bush admnistration official Leslie Steele of Tallahassee; and Stand Inc. president Bob Touchston of Palm Bay.

The news release announcing the team includes a letter from them to fellow social conservatives that bashes Mack’s leading opponent the GOP Senate primary, George LeMieux.

It says LeMieux “has shown support for many socially liberal programs, both before and after he orchestrated Charlie Crist’s election” as former campaign manager and chief of staff to the former governor.

The letter says Crist was “an early and vocal supporter of the gay agenda as a candidate for state representative” and “orchestrated many liberal initiatives including the Crist era policy of cap and trade and the endorsement of President Obama’s failed Stimulus Plan” while working for Crist.

LeMieux, however, has won the support of at least one prominent Florida social conservative leader, state Sen. Dennis Baxley.

But some social conservatives say neither candidate has excited the constituency, and Mack has his own problems with them, including his support for embryonic stem cell research while in Congress.

“A lot of people are just watching that race, waiting to see whether somebody else get in it” before making a decision whom to back, said religious conservative talk show host Bill Bunkley of Tampa.

Mack has one advantage in seeking social conservative support—backing of veteran Florida political strategist Brett Doster, a veteran of the George W. and Jeb Bush campaigns who has close ties to social conservatives.

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