On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board members explained to readers why they thought Republican Dave Weldon was a better choice than Rep. Connie Mack to face Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the fall. They were not kind:
Rep. Connie Mack IV of Fort Myers has the famous name, the endorsements, the PAC money -- and questionable work habits, a sense of entitlement and an undistinguished record in Congress... Mack's approach to public service does not inspire confidence. He refused to debate his Republican primary opponents or meet with editorial boards, including this one. By one measure, he has missed more than twice as many votes in the House as the average member since taking office. There also remain questions about how much time he spends in his district.
Woof. Don't worry, though, Mack responded -- with name-calling.
Campaign manager Jeff Cohen sent one of the most obnoxious emails ever sent from a political campaign -- it includes nuggets like "It's fair to state that former Senator Connie Mack was perhaps the finest U.S. Senator to have ever served" and "At least [politics reporter] Adam Smith and the Tampa Bay Times should have the decency to admit they are Left Wing Democrats whose circulation is declining because their Left Wing agenda is offensive to so many rational conservative voters."
Cohen also said it "came as little surprise that you readily endorsed incumbent liberal Senator Bill Nelson. After all, barely a day goes by when Adam Smith or someone on his staff doesn't attack Connie or doesn't protect Bill Nelson. It's who you are." He did not mention that the endorsement of Nelson was for the Democratic primary.
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The whole letter is online, if you really want to read the thing. But don't expect any actual reasons voters should vote for Mack over Weldon or why the Times was incorrect in its analysis or anything other than paranoid, hyperbolic rambling about how Smith's agenda is "Left Wing and Democrat, as is your newspaper." When it comes to reasons to vote for Mack (and his world-famous and totally useless Penny Plan), it looks like even his campaign is keeping it a secret.