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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Romney endorses Mack
Posted May 16, 2012 by William March
Updated May 16, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has endorsed Rep. Connie Mack in the Florida Republican Senate primary.
“Connie Mack is a friend, a strong conservative and the type of principled leader we need in Washington to restore fiscal responsibility,” Romney said in a statement from his campaign. “By electing Connie Mack, the people of Florida will be sending a clear message to Senator Nelson and President Obama that their failed policies have not worked to change the borrow and spend ways of Washington.”
The endorsement isn’t a big surprise—Mack backed Romney in the 2008 Republican presidential primary, and backed him strongly during campaign for this year’s January primary.
However, Mack apparently won’t be attending any of Romney’s fundraising campaign events today and tomorrow in St. Petersburg, Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville and Boca Raton. He didn’t make the St. Petersburg speech or Tampa fundraiser today, and campaign spokesman Rick Gorka said he didn’t know of any plans for Mack to join Romney at the coming events.
Mack has been engaged in an increasingly bitter primary battle against George LeMieux, including a contest to amass big-name endorsements. He immediately put out a statement crowing about the biggest endorsement coup yet—“United with our next president, we will put the country back on the road of freedom and prosperity.”
The Mack campaign’s response when asked why he’s not appearing with Romney during his Florida swing, even though he’s getting Romney’s endorsement, from spokesman David James:
“While Connie is delighted with the news of a united conservative front against (Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill) Nelson and Obama, Connie is voting in DC today and is chairing a prescheduled hearing on Cuba’s Network of Terrorism tomorrow morning. He is also giving a major speech at the Heritage Foundation on Friday morning. There will be many opportunities for joint appearances in the weeks and months to come in their joint effort to defeat liberals Bill Nelson and Barack Obama.”