TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Republican candidate for U.S. Senate George LeMieux says he feels good about his chances in the August primary, even though a recent poll shows him trailing U.S. Rep. Connie Mack by more than 30 points.
LeMieux filed his primary qualifying papers in Tallahassee on Wednesday and said he feels momentum for his campaign after winning four straw polls in a row.
LeMieux served 16 months in the U.S. Senate after being appointed to the job by former Gov. Charlie Crist. But LeMieux's name recognition remains low among Florida voters and that's one of his main challenges in the campaign.
His major opponent Connie Mack has a well known name in Florida because his father was a popular U.S. Senator and his great-grandfather is in the baseball Hall of Fame.
"I'm running against 100 years of name recognition but it's not his name recognition, it's his father's and I think a lot of Floridians haven't focused on this race yet. As I go around the state and meet with Republicans, with business leaders, with Tea Party folks, we're getting all of their support. There's no one there who's for Connie Mack the 4th, which is the Connie Mack I'm running against," said LeMieux.
LeMieux has tried to move beyond his formerly close association with former Gov. Charlie Crist, who bolted the Republican Party to become an independent for a U.S. Senate run. LeMieux, who ran Crist's campaign for governor and served as his chief of staff, says he's not any different than the many Republicans who supported Crist in a lot of elections.
But LeMieux says once Crist left the party, he threw his complete support to Marco Rubio, now a Republican U.S. Senator.
LeMieux describes himself as a consistent conservative.
"I'm not a career politician. I will limit myself to two terms if elected unlike the rest of these folks. I think they (voters) realize that career politicians are the problem in Washington and they want a change."
The other candidates seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate are former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister.
First Coast News