Connie Mack IV’s history of violence

Florida voters, get ready to hear about a Senate contender's wild past

Topics: Florida Senate Race, U.S. Senate, 2012 Elections, Republican Party,

Connie Mack IV's history of violenceConnie Mack IV (Credit: AP/Cliff Owen)

Rep Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.) is running for his father’s old U.S. Senate seat, currently held by moderate Democrat Bill Nelson. (Mack currently represents the same district his father did in the House of Representatives.) Mack’s opponent for the Republican nomination is George LeMieux, who was an appointed U.S. Senator for a little more than a year, and apparently grew to enjoy the gig. LeMieux, trying to make conservative voters forget about his long association with hated ex-Republican ex-governor Charlie Crist, is fighting dirty, accusing Mack of awful things like not paying child support (false) and having a bizarre history of public brawling, leading on one occasion to his arrest. That one’s… true.

Some background: Mack’s great-grandfather was the Connie Mack, the legendary Philadelphia A’s manager and owner who still holds Major League Baseball’s records for wins. (All four Connie Macks are actually legally named Cornelius McGillicuddy. Running for office under your famous grandfather’s nickname is pretty silly, for the record.) Mack has not had a terribly notable tenure in the House, though thanks to name recognition he is on TV with some regularity, and he has occasionally taken positions that place him at odds with his fellow Republicans. (He said nice things about Wikileaks, and he seems to vote for limiting the executive branch’s surveillance and domestic intelligence-gathering powers just as often as he votes to expand them.) He is married to Mary Bono Mack, California congresswoman and widow of Sonny Bono.

Mack’s history was first reported when he ran for Congress in 2004, but a statewide race means further scrutiny. And the incidents are certainly worthy of further scrutiny, because they are basically straight out of “Eastbound and Down.” The “incidents” are incredible even by the standards of second-generation ne’er-do-well legacy Congressional admissions like Patrick Kennedy and Rand Paul. The AP’s dry account of Mack’s own explanation of the incidents in question resists summary.

Mack’s campaign said he won’t discuss the incidents with The Associated Press, saying he has already answered questions about them, but here’s how Mack explained each incident during a deposition taken in 1996, four years after the fight with Gant:

— Sometime around 1987 when Mack was in college, he was driving and stopped at a drawbridge with friends in Palm Beach County. One of his friends was screaming like comedian Howie Mandel, which apparently upset the driver next to them. When the man approached Mack’s car, Mack got out and the man jumped on him. The two wrestled, struck each other and when the drawbridge went back down, Mack got back in his car and drove off.

— Within the next year, Mack’s girlfriend was driving his car when a driver forced her off the road. Both cars stopped and Mack got out. The other driver tried to punch Mack, so Mack punched him. The driver went back to his car, grabbed a baseball bat and chased Mack around the car and smashed its windows.

— In 1989, Mack and two friends were at a Jacksonville nightclub and Mack had nothing to drink. A bouncer asked the three men to leave because one of Mack’s friends was violating the club’s no hats policy. Mack asked to speak to the manager and questioned why they had to leave. The manager didn’t have time to talk with him and asked an off-duty sheriff’s deputy to escort them out of the club. Mack never resisted, never cursed, yet was still arrested.

— In 1992, Mack used Gant’s table to sign a credit card receipt while getting ready to leave Calico Jack’s. Gant shoved Mack twice. The second time, he was hurled toward a crowd, which pushed him back. As he was thrust forward toward Gant, Mack put his hands out to brace his fall and Gant got him in a headlock. He hit Gant’s genitals in an attempt to free himself, fearing he might be choked to death.

You Might Also Like

“Gant,” in the last story, is famed Atlanta Braves outfielder Ron Gant, because of course.

In Mack’s version, he was sober as a hanging judge each time he was ejected from a drinking establishment or chased around his car by a baseball bat-wielding assailant. Who among us hasn’t soberly and politely asked the manager of a Jacksonville nightclub why our hat-wearing friend had to be ejected? Mack was simply a victim of circumstance that time he hit Ron Gant in the crotch at Calico Jack’s.

Do these arrests and brawls disqualify Mack from a Senate seat? Or do they make him, as at least one blogger has argued, “kind of perfect to represent Florida in the Senate”? It’s up to a bunch of Republicans to decide. (They will almost definitely decide to go with Connie Mack.)

Alex Pareene
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    DAYA  
    Young Daya has yet to become entirely jaded, but she has the character's trademark skeptical pout down pat. And with a piece-of-work mother like Aleida -- who oscillates between jealousy and scorn for her creatively gifted daughter, chucking out the artwork she brings home from summer camp -- who can blame her?

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    MORELLO   
    With her marriage to prison penpal Vince Muccio, Lorna finally got to wear the white veil she has fantasized about since childhood (even if it was made of toilet paper).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CINDY   
    Cindy's embrace of Judaism makes sense when we see her childhood, lived under the fist of a terrifying father who preached a fire-and-brimstone version of Christianity. As she put it: "I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray. And if I was bad, I’d go to hell."

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CAPUTO   
    Joey Caputo has always tried to be a good guy, whether it's offering to fight a disabled wrestler at a high school wrestling event or giving up his musical ambitions to raise another man's child. But trying to be a nice guy never exactly worked out for him -- which might explain why he decides to take the selfish route in the Season 3 finale.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    BOO   
    In one of the season's more moving flashbacks, we see a young Boo -- who rejected the traditional trappings of femininity from a young age -- clashing with her mother over what to wear. Later, she makes the decision not to visit her mother on her deathbed if it means pretending to be something she's not. As she puts it, "I refuse to be invisible, Daddy. Not for you, not for Mom, not for anybody.”

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    SOSO
    We still don't know what landed Brooke Soso in the slammer, but a late-season flashback suggests that some seriously overbearing parenting may have been the impetus for her downward spiral.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    POUSSEY
    We already know a little about Poussey's relationship with her military father, but this season we saw a softer side of the spunky fan-favorite, who still pines for the loving mom that she lost too young.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    PENNSATUCKY
    Pennsatucky had something of a redemption arc this season, and glimpses of her childhood only serve to increase viewer sympathy for the character, whose mother forced her to chug Mountain Dew outside the Social Security Administration office and stripped her of her sexual agency before she was even old enough to comprehend it.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    CHANG
    This season, we got an intense look at the teenage life of one of Litchfield's most isolated and underexplored inmates. Rebuffed and scorned by her suitor at an arranged marriage, the young Chinese immigrant stored up a grudge, and ultimately exacted a merciless revenge.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    HEALY
    It's difficult to sympathize with the racist, misogynist CO Sam Healy, but the snippets we get of his childhood -- raised by a mentally ill mother, vomited on by a homeless man he mistakes for Jesus when he runs to the church for help -- certainly help us understand him better.

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NORMA
    This season, we learned a lot about one of Litchfield's biggest enigmas, as we saw the roots of Norma's silence (a childhood stutter) and the reason for her incarceration (killing the oppressive cult leader she followed for decades).

    The 12 most incredible pint-size look-alikes in "Orange Is the New Black" season 3

    NICKI
    While Nicki's mother certainly isn't entirely to blame for her daughter's struggles with addiction, an early childhood flashback -- of an adorable young Nicki being rebuffed on Mother's Day -- certainly helps us understand the roots of Nicki's scarred psyche.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>