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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Mary Bono Mack Scandal to Have Reverberations in Florida?

My early prognosis for the GOP race for the right to challenge Bill Nelson gave Connie Mack a slight edge over Mike "The Appeaser" Haridopolos and George "Fair Weather Friend" LeMieux. Not because of anything Mack's ever done, of course, just the luck of the draw. And early polling bore that out, too.

But all this guessing, more than a year and half before the primary, is just that - guesswork. Because so much can change.

I have noted that Mack has a reputation for being a bit of a lightweight and some people still remember when he was in charge of scheduling party appearances for "Hooters" girls. When he married fellow Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), it seemed like too much of a bad thing. She had a reputation for loving to party and an unsubstantiated reputation for using recreational drug use (not a deal breaker for the constituents of her home town of Palm Springs).

Well, she got caught in some compromising conditions, to say the least. Rather than go into detail, I'll direct you to this article, or better yet, check out what Wonkette has to say on the matter.

If this has legs, it could very easily make a statewide race much more difficult for her husband, providing an opening for LeMieux or Haridopolos (or a fourth candidate) to exploit.

It also points out a big of a gap in the field - the absence of a family values candidate. LeMieux is the moderate (though trying not to be - moderation is the kiss of death in a GOP primary) and Haridopolos is the candidate of the Tallahassee establishment. Connie Mack, with his dad's famous name, is sort of the candidate of Old Florida Tradition.

LeMieux could try and reinvent as the family values guy, of the tiny sliver of the electorate who knows who he is, half know him as the guy who stabbed Crist in the back and half know him as the right hand man to a governor that a lot of folks still suspect of being secretly gay or bi-sexual. Neither of these things scream "family values" to me.

Likewise, Haridopolos trying to take that mantle sounds too much like when Tom Gallagher tried that. Granted, Haridopolos doesn't suffer from Gallagher's hard partying history (at least not so far as I know), but it does remind me of when Steve Forbes decided to run for president as a culture warrior and, frankly, no one bought the act.

Any thoughts? Who could step up from the GOP back bench as the family values candidate?

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