Florida voters, get ready to hear about a Senate contender's wild past
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.
“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.)
More Related Stories
- Limbaugh: No one willing to impeach the first black president
- Top White House aides knew about IRS probe but didn't tell Obama
- Gohmert: IRS would've "probably shot the Boston Tea Party participants"
- Oregon senator proposes appeal to Monsanto Protection Act
- Supreme Court to rule on prayer at government meetings
- Beltway scandal machine breaks, knows nothing about America
- Top GOP official: "Sometimes our party does not value" women "as much"
- Colorado Dems fight back against GOP's Voter ID measures
- Watchdogs: ABC "in danger of losing a lot of credibility" on Benghazi saga
- Father of gay high school student arrested for dating classmate speaks out
- IRS meltdown was long overdue
- Can a liberal wonk save the Senate?
- Arkansas treasurer charged with extortion
- Corporate greed is poisoning America -- literally
- The new geography of poverty
- Barack Obama: Incidental black man?
- Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"
- Big Soda SNAP-ing up billions off government programs
- The truth in Kanye's anti-prison rap
- Tea Party Patriots push nationwide anti-IRS rallies
- GOP attorney general candidate tried to force women to report miscarriages to police
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11