Matt Towery

But LeMieux faces one significant challenge: Both he and his opponent have relatively little cash on hand to fight it out in Florida's numerous and expensive major media markets. Hence, Mack has the default advantage of having been named after his father and, to his credit, having spent years in elected office at various levels. In a cash-strapped race, the winner is usually the one with stronger name identification.

Still, this contest could become a close battle. LeMieux is picking up financial backing from big-money supporters of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign, in part because Mack decided to crash a Gingrich event and spar with Gingrich's spunky press secretary, basically verbally attacking Gingrich. Yes, Romney won Florida -- but Gingrich had plenty of conservative supporters who can write checks, as well.

For LeMieux to win, he needs more money for television and at least one of those famous Florida televised debates. He then has to hope that the hardcore Republican voters emerge, because they are the most likely to watch a debate and let it decide their vote.

Mack has numerous advantages. He has been endorsed by the head of the official third party organization, branded the "Tea Party." How much that will bring to the table is an unknown. His wife is a fellow member of Congress, Mary Bono Mack, who came to Congress after the untimely death of her late husband, Sonny Bono. Sonny was a very kind and gentle person. It looks like this race in Florida, unless something fires it up, might be as mellow as was Sonny.

And the winner must take on the incumbent Bill Nelson and his huge financial war chest, which will be no small task -- no small task, indeed.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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