The Campaign Spot

Linda Lingle, Connie Mack Considering 2012 GOP Senate Bids

Two familiar Republican names are reportedly considering bids against incumbent Democratic senators in 2012.

In Hawaii, the departing two-term governor, Linda Lingle, is considering a bid against Sen. Daniel Akaka. The incumbent is completing his third term; he represented Hawaii in the House from 1977 to 1990. Today Akaka is a spry 86 years old.

In Florida, Rep. Connie Mack IV — the four-term congressman and son of the former senator — is thinking about taking on Bill Nelson.

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV has hired several political veterans for a possible run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

According to senior adviser David James, who spent 15 years handling political communications for a senator, the Republican National Committee and the Labor Department, Mack has hired several consultants who have worked with senators in the past.

Mack, a Fort Myers Republican who said Wednesday he hasn’t decided if he is running, is also raising money and stepping up criticism of incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson.

“I am so focused on the chairmanship right now,” Mack said, referring to his position as chairman of the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee. “I haven’t made any decision.

“I will say this . . . the amount of support I have been getting is very humbling.”

If Connie Mack does run for Senate, think of how much his campaign can save by using his father’s old signs.

UPDATE: Two other Florida Republicans contemplating bids against Nelson:

State Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, has crisscrossed the state in recent years to elect the largest number of fellow Republican state senators since Reconstruction. He traveled to Washington in November to meet with lawmakers and advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for his all-but-announced campaign against Nelson.

Departing Republican Sen. George LeMieux also is mulling a run. Gov. Charlie Crist appointed LeMieux, his former chief of staff, to serve the final 16 months of former GOP Sen. Mel Martinez’s term after Martinez retired. LeMieux’s seat will be taken Jan. 5 by GOP Sen.-elect Marco Rubio.

Of a possible run for Nelson’s seat, LeMieux said, “I’m giving it very serious consideration — both my wife and I are.”


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