While the financial disparity is pretty glaring, it's not impossible for Mack to close the gap. Billionaire Sheldon Adelson is giving $1 million to a pro-Mack super PAC. Jeb Bush's endorsement of Mack earlier this month sent a strong signal to the GOP donor community. And other Republican outside groups like Crossroads can help close the gap even more, if the general election race is close come the fall. There's another reason why LeMieux's exit could hardly have come at a better time for Mack. The Gulf Coast congressman has been taking heat for refusing to debate his opponents, and he has been forced to confront headlines about past physical confrontations. LeMieux's exit is a badly needed good headline for Mack. LeMieux's own limitations as a candidate forced him from the race, but Mack's strategy accelerated his departure. "Connie cut LeMieux's legs from under him by ignoring him and never engaging him despite George's attempts to goad him onto a fight," said Navarro. "At the end of the day, there can't be a boxing match with just one guy running around the ring waving his arms and trash-talking, and that's what happened in this race." One of Mack's chief assets is his name, which many observers point to as the main reason for his early polling success. Mack's father was a senator and his grandfather is a member of the Baseball Hall Of Fame. LeMieux's money woes made an already uphill climb even more daunting. "[LeMieux] didn't even have enough money to run TV for a week statewide and he was going to need a lot more than that to overcome the Mack name," said Florida Republican strategist Tim Baker, who is leaning towards supporting Mack. For now at least, Mack has been given a new opportunity to sharpen the edges of his campaign and craft a message that is more powerful than his family name. Privately, both national and state Republicans are less optimistic about this race than they once were. The floating of several names as possible Mack-alternatives the last few months was evidence of this. But it's increasingly apparent that Mack will carry the flag for the GOP against Nelson. Republicans hope he defies their expectations.
Connie Mack's Moment
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