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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Mack skipping YR’s convention
Posted Jun 8, 2012 by William March
Updated Jun 8, 2012 at 04:32 PM
After announcing he’ll skip a televised debate in the Senate Republican primary, Connie Mack IV will also miss a candidates’ forum and straw poll at the state Young Republicans convention in Palm Beach this weekend.
YR’s Chairman Peret Pass of Jacksonville said she was surprised that two candidates—Mack and Mike McCalister—both declined the invitation to appear.
McCalister, she said, declined after being told there was to be a straw poll after the event. She said Mack never provided any reason why he’s not coming.
She said the forum and straw poll will go forward with candidates George LeMieux and Dave Weldon expected to attend.
Mack campaign spokesman David James said the campaign is “focused on running our campaign against liberal Bill Nelson and have other events planned this weekend.” He said he expects any straw poll won’t include Mack’s name.
Pass said Mack “doesn’t seem to want to do anything grass-roots oriented. We think it’s unfortunate. Our clubs across the state have tried to reach out to the candidates and have them address the local clubs. The only candidates who have been making that effort at the local level have been George LeMieux and Col. McCalister.”
Mack said this week he won’t participate in a planned June 26 debate to be broadcast statewide on public television and radio networks because, in effect, the primary race is over and he has won.
“It’s clear the race for the U.S. Senate in Florida is now between Connie Mack, the Republican, and Bill Nelson, the Democrat. A primary debate among Republicans would only serve to benefit Bill Nelson,” Mack campaign manager Jeff Cohen wrote in declining the debate to an editor of the Tampa Bay Times, one of the sponsors.