(CNN) – Former Republican Sen. George LeMieux of Florida ended his bid to return to the upper chamber Wednesday, citing low poll numbers and name recognition in a video to supporters.
LeMieux endorsed GOP rival Rep. Connie Mack, but also blamed his decision on Mack's refusal to debate.
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"Ahead of us in the polls, the Mack name enjoys widespread recognition that can only be matched with substantial advertising or the opportunity to debate on statewide television," LeMieux said in the three minute video. "Advertising, which our finances cannot support, and debates, which my competitor won't agree to."
LeMieux was appointed to the seat now held by Sen. Marco Rubio by former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Despite his previous service, he has failed to raise money or gain traction in state-wide polling since entering the race last year.
His withdrawal leave Mack, who has received support from high profile Republicans including Mitt Romney, as the frontrunner in the race to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
Former Rep. Dave Weldon and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister are among Mack's main competition for the GOP nomination, the election for which is scheduled for August 14.
Weldon jumped into the race in May and has since received an endorsement from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded to LeMieux's announcement by attacking Mack over his record in Congress.
"Floridians want leaders who will fight for them, not self-interested politicians like Connie Mack who put special interests first," DSCC spokesman Matt Canter said in a statement.
Independent political handicappers Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg rate the race in the presidential battleground state as leaning in Nelson's favor.
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now lets get rid of mac. forward 2012
It sounds like a bit of sour grapes there. I can understand the bitterness that Lemieux has because Mack was too cowardly to debate. If he had and Mack did poorly, then it would have been a more compeditive race. If Lemieux did poorly, he would have left earlier.
Well, since GOverner "purge" is conveniently tossing out thousands of eligible voters now, the fix is in. He waits til just before the election to decide to throw out thousands of voters who are eligible but come from "those areas" and forces them to come out and prove they are. Meanwhile the 100 non-eligible (who couldn't vote anyway) are revealed.
Why are all these Republicans refusing to debate? First Scott in Mass. doesn't want to debate, and now these people.
Why are they so afraid to debate? Is it because they would actually have to take a position and form an opinion on something? Or is it because these opinions they have aren't popular?
if you don't want to debate, don't run for elected office.
LeMieux didn't stand a chance because he was Charlie Crist's Lt. Governor. Both are decent, moderate men – something the reichwing can't stomach so they had to go!
Mack needs to go.All he is doing is being a patsy for his buddies and special interest people.He does NOT represent the people for the better of Florida.He is for the wealthy and Not the middle class at all.Discusting ! get rid of him and finalize it now.Show Florida we don't pander to just the wealthy but we support everyone even the MIDDLE CLASS period !
Ahhhhhh - so Mack is taking Chinese Mafia money from Adelson (who wants to own his share of the U.S. for China).