Connie Mack and George LeMieux Exchange Fire in GOP Senate Primary

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack and George LeMieuxThe two leading Republican candidates looking to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson took off the gloves Thursday and ripped into each other on a range of issues.

Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux took aim at U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, bashing the congressman for a mailer sent out to Floridians outside his district.

“I’m calling on Connie Mack the Fourth to write a check out of his Senate campaign to reimburse the taxpayers for his blatant misuse of their money,” LeMieux said in a conference call with the media Thursday afternoon. “This mailing was sent to people who are not in his congressional district, directly benefiting his Senate campaign. Also, Mack should apologize to the people of Florida who received this mailing because it has the indicia that it is official government business.

“When the mail vendor covered the costs of the franked mail, Mack received what is in effect a $17,000 campaign contribution from a corporation,” LeMieux insisted. “Mack is profiting from his own wrongdoing by receiving a free mail piece that went to 57,000 Republican households across Florida.

“It is not a coincidence that the mail piece went to Republican voters,” continued LeMieux before noting that the mailing included details of Mack’s proposal to reduce the size of the federal government 1 percent each year until the budget is balanced. Mack and other supporters of the proposal have dubbed it the “Penny Plan” which is how LeMieux referred to it.

“It is not a coincidence that the mailer features the focus of Mack’s campaign for the U.S. Senate, the Penny Plan,” LeMieux said. “And it is not a coincidence that it features Rand Paul whose endorsement was rolled out in conjunction with this mail piece. It is not an honest mistake; it is a coordinated campaign effort.”

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who endorsed Mack on Wednesday, has been a longtime supporter of the Penny Plan.

The Mack team responded by releasing a letter from U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., the chairman of the Congressional Franking Commission, written on Thursday. Schock wrote to Mack that the vendor

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