Editorial by Michael MacPherson – Florida Statewide – As the months continue to drag on in the Republican Primary to determine to will top the Republican ticket, there is a key element that is missing – a candidate that can actually defeat Bill Nelson.
While Adam Hasner started out as a Grassroots favorite, and continues to be the leader in this race, his numbers and support do not demonstrate enough favorability to defeat the long-time incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson. Additionally, Hasner’s voting record continues to be used against him, as it shows a tendency towards the moderate, rather than the hard-charging conservative stance he has made the cornerstone of his candidacy. In a straw poll held at the CPAC event in Orlando, Hasner did take 34% of the vote, but directly behind him was Col. Mike McCalister with 30% of the vote – not that great considering that McCalister is still a relative unknown, having never served as an elected official.
George LeMieux’s candidacy has continued to be plagued by associations with Charlie Crist, and Grassroots groups across the state seem to consider him the ‘establishment’ candidate. To make matters worse, LeMieux is engaging in an insult trading match with Hasner, getting offended with Hasner’s “LeMieux is french for Crist” comment, and calling Hasner a “Phony Conservative”. While I agree that it is inappropriate for members of the Republican Party to be actively attacking each other rather than the Liberals, if Fmr. Senator LeMieux can’t take a lightweight comment like that, it calls into question his ability to take what would be thrown at him in DC.
Mike McCalister is holding on to his grassroots support, but he isn’t gaining any real ground. While Col. McCalister is a fiery speaker, and should be respected for his long service in our military, his fire and outrage alone will not be enough to carry him across the finish line to beat Smilin’ Bill Nelson.
Craig Miller is running in fourth by EVERY poll, and still remains a relative unknown
So what are we left with? Allen West has made it clear that he will not run for the Senate seat, and for that I applaud him. He is still working on the House of Representatives and should keep at that. Mike Haridopolos has dropped out of the race to focus on his job as President of the Florida Senate – an honorable, but disappointing decision, since he probably had the best shot of all the candidates to defeat Bill Nelson. It was also disappointing because of all the candidates, Haridopolos had been the only candidate to focus on beating Nelson, rather than attacking fellow republicans or getting lost in a fiery, outraged speeches.
In my opinion, we can only hope that the candidates will get their collective heads out of their snark and vitriol, and focus on the true task at hand… defeating Bill Nelson… because right now, that key element is missing from this Republican Senate Primary. Still standing watch…