But you have to wonder if his name was say, Cornelius McGillicuddy, how it would all work out for him?
Tuesday night was supposed to when the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate engaged in a debate, three weeks before the August 14 primary, with the winner facing Bill Nelson this fall.
But with a huge lead based predominantly on his (famous) name recognition, Mack blew that debate off weeks ago, and though it disappointed some Republicans, others openly praised him, saying that it was all the better for him to keep his eyes on the prize, which is taking down Nelson in November.
But while Mack is still expected to win his party's nomination, you have to wonder about how impressed Republicans who know him best think of him.
Take one of his hometown papers in his congressional district, the Naples News. The paper opted not to endorse in the GOP primary, but it's editorial on the race was filled with love with one of his opponents, former Space Coast Congressman Dave Weldon.
Now we better understand why U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers, refuses to debate his opponent for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Dr. David Weldon of Melbourne is a bright, extremely well-informed and experienced candidate who has a strong conservative vision for the future.
Seemingly prohibitive frontrunners in polls tend to avoid debates for fear of stumbling — saying something ill-advised that could be used against them. Calls for free and open debates — the red, white and blue American way — come up short.
After interviewing Weldon, a former U.S. House member who term-limited himself out of office four years ago, we see him as well-rounded and thoughtful on the key issues of health care, fiscal policy, economic development, the national defense, and aerospace. Weldon is effectively passionate — a veteran of getting things done with the help of other people in this community and Congress. He sees the big picture and knows that the economy, jobs and health-care policy come together.
Yet, Mack is going to be the GOP nominee.
His party is with him and he will be facing Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson, who also has challengers listed on the Aug. 14 ballot, in November. That is the contest, with a national focus and big implications — perhaps the biggest Senate race out there.
One gets the impression that it would be politically untenable for the News to come out and endorse Weldon. There's the reality that Mack represents Naples in D.C., and well, that could get a bit ugly.
But then again, Mack's campaign has been all about the ugly of late. Or haven't you seen the weird obsession with calling Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith some sort of leftist wag who secretly wants Bill Nelson to win.
Yesterday on the Times Buzz Blog, Smith copied and pasted the latest blast of hostility expression coming from Jeff Cohen, Mack's campaign manager.
The tipping point for the vitriol appears to be the fact that unlike the Naples News, the Times went out and recommended Weldon recently, showing how they too are as impressed with the former congressman over the current one.
After Mack's team began hammering Smith last week, Allysia Finley with the Wall Street Journal mocked the Mack jihad, writing, "Mr. Mack may score some points with conservatives by excoriating the liberal media, but such attacks will wear thin quickly and fall flat with independents. The only thing Mr. Mack buys with his media assassinations is more scrutiny and negative coverage."
Obviously Team Mack doesn't think much of that advice, and maybe they don't need any, as current polls show the Congressman faring well against Senator Nelson.
With the help of Super PAC ads, there will be an onslaught of advertising against Nelson, who has been involved in electoral politics in Florida now for 40 years. He is extremely vulnerable, with the entire balance of the U.S. Senate as stake.
Rick Scott proved two years ago you don't need newspaper endorsements to win higher office in Florida. A ton of money will do just fine. Can Mack use that same formula, as well as the same name as a popular former Republican Senator, to do the same?