MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Republican U.S. Representative Connie Mack IV’s Senate campaign is struggling in recent polling and has put in a call to the GOP bullpen to get some help, namely popular Florida Senator Marco Rubio.
The duo started out a statewide tour with a 10 a.m. gathering at Versailles Restaurant in Miami. After that, Mack and Rubio will travel to the GOP stronghold of The Villages before heading to Tampa to close out the day.
Mack, who’s biggest asset may be his family name, made mostly broad statements to a small, staged crowd inside the Cuban restaurant. He spoke negatively about his opponent, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, and challenged him on his vote for the Affordable Care Act.
“Senator Nelson has made a habit of saying one thing to you and doing another thing in Washington, DC, ” Mack said. “I am going to make sure that Senator Nelson, that this is the last term for Senator Nelson.”
Outside Versailles, Mack joined Rubio for a cafesito and quickly navigated through the crowd and the gathered media.
Mack refused to take a single question from the gathered press, which were set to ask him about how his campaign will bounce back from recent disappointing poll numbers.
The latest polling from the Washington Post gave Senator Nelson, a 14-point lead, 54-40 percent. That’s an identical 14-point lead in a poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Marist poll that gave Nelson a 51-37 percent lead.
The lead is slightly larger in those polls than a Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll released earlier in September that gave Nelson an eight-point advantage of 48-40 percent. Overall, the last seven statewide polls have given Nelson a lead of 8-14 points.
Both candidates have started to saturate the television airwaves with ads. Nelson had a campaign war chest of roughly $8.8 million at the end of July, compared to Mack’s $1.4 million.
Republicans had high-hopes of flipping the seat held by Nelson after Rubio’s victory in 2010. Mack was heavily recruited to run by Republicans, but whether it’s Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s numbers bringing Mack’s down, or something else, Mack hasn’t been able to tap into the same Republican base that Rubio did two years ago.