Mack IV, Nelson advance to Senate showdown

Associated PressAugust 15, 2012 

TALLAHASSEE -- Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson easily won his primary challenge Tuesday, advancing his bid for a third term in the U.S. Senate to the Nov. 6 general election when he'll face conservative Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV.

Both men were expected to have an easy go against longshot opposition on a night with few surprises, but one big one in a four-way Republican primary where longtime U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns trailed veterinarian Ted Yoho, a tea party favorite by 1 percentage point with all but two precincts counted.

Nelson routed political unknown Glenn Burkett in the Democratic primary while Mack coasted to victory over former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and retired Army Reserve Col. Mike McCalister in the GOP contest.

Nelson received nearly 79 percent to 21 percent for Burkett, a Naples businessman while Mack, who was heavily favored in the GOP contest, received 58.6 percent in the three-way GOP contest. His father, Connie Mack III, is a former U.S. senator and his great-grandfather was a Hall of Fame baseball manager.

Nelson, who turns 70 next month, was elected in 2000 to the seat previously held by Mack's father, who retired after two terms.

In the race to replace Mack in southwest Florida, radio talk show host Trey Radel was the winner in a field of six candidates that included two sitting state lawmakers and Chauncey Goss, son of former U.S. Rep. and CIA director Porter Goss. Radel received 30 percent of the vote.

Longtime U.S. Rep. John Mica defeated first-term U.S. Rep. Sandy Adams for the GOP nomination in the newly drawn 7th Congressional district that runs northeast from Orlando. It was the only Florida congressional race where incumbents were matched. With 84 percent of the precincts counted, Mica had received 61 percent.

Former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who also previously served as Democratic leader in the Florida House, defeated Palm Beach County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs in the Democratic primary and will face former state Rep. Adam Hasner, who dropped out of the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate to seek the seat.

Voters also weighed in Tuesday on candidates in 70 of Florida's 160 legislative seats.

Former state Senate President Tom Lee made a successful bid to get back to that chamber, defeating state Rep. Rachel Burgin following a nasty campaign battle between the two Republicans in a district encompassing the Tampa suburbs. Lee, the GOP's unsuccessful candidate for chief financial officer in 2006, received nearly 60 percent of the vote.

Another former lawmaker forced out by Florida's "eight is enough" term limits law, former Rep. Aaron Bean, defeated Rep. Mike Weinstein for a Jacksonville area seat in the state Senate.

State Sen. Mike Fasano, who was ineligible to seek another term in the Senate because of term limits, easily won his Republican primary in his bid to return to the state House where he served prior to his days I the upper chamber.

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