Rep. Connie Mack IV made his bid for Senate in the Sunshine State official Monday night.
Speaking from Florida on the Fox News program “Hannity,” the Florida Republican told anchorman Sean Hannity he was jumping into the race.
“I’m here tonight, Sean, with you, to tell you I am going to run for the United States Senate because, frankly, I think the people of Florida are fed up,” he said.
Criticizing incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and tying the two-term Democrat to President Barack Obama and his stimulus and health care laws, Mack said, “You name it, right down the line, Sen. Nelson has been one of Barack Obama’s go-to guys in the Senate.”
One recent reputable poll had the president’s approval rating in Florida at 39 percent, while Nelson’s job approval was at 45 percent.
Mack’s entry makes him the immediate frontrunner in the Republican race, Florida strategists said. A month ago, he made his intentions to run clear after earlier passing on the Senate race. His effort will be helped by the fact that he shares a name with his father, former two-term Sen. Connie Mack III.
In the GOP primary, Mack will face former Sen. George LeMieux, former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, former Ruth’s Chris CEO Craig Miller and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister.
Hasner, who was the previous frontrunner, wasted no time in slamming Mack.
“Congressman Mack’s record of supporting wasteful Washington spending, billions in earmark spending, and taxpayer-funded embryonic stem cell research stands in stark contrast with what Florida Republicans are looking for in their next United States Senator,” said Hasner, who is looking to shore up conservative votes. “If the last decade has shown us anything, it’s that the problems in Washington can’t be fixed by the same establishment politicians who helped create them in the first place,” he added in his statement.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.