According to sources familiar with the campaign’s thinking, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is set to endorse Rep. Connie Mack in the Florida Republican primary against George LeMieux.
LeMieux was Charlie Crist’s former Chief of Staff — and the man Crist appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009. LeMieux described himself then as a “Charlie Crist Republican,” and led an assault on Rubio during the 2009 campaign, but is now trying to remake himself as a tea party candidate. (It’s also worth noting that Romney endorsed Marco Rubio over Crist two years ago.)
Mack has emerged as the conservative favorite, having been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Michelle Bachman and the American Conservative Union.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal recently, FreedomWorks’ Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe observed: “Building on the historic successes of 2010, we have an opportunity to take control of the Senate and dramatically increase the ranks of entrepreneurial fiscal conservatives, creating a dynamic new majority within the majority … It means winning races in key battlegrounds like Florida, where Rep. Connie Mack is emerging as the most able fiscal conservative…”
It strikes me as significant that Romney is weighing in. This has been a hotly contested race, and this endorsement points to a commitment by Romney to build a conservative majority in the United States Senate and to ensure the party is competitive for senate seats in states like Florida.
Whoever wins the GOP nomination will face Sen. Bill Nelson in the general election.