Group Compares GOP Candidate to Charlie Sheen
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) — A super PAC supporting Democratic Senate candidates say they’re going up with a TV ad Friday comparing Republican Rep. Connie Mack of Florida to Charlie Sheen, citing the congressman’s past run-ins with the law.
“Republicans call him the Charlie Sheen on Florida politics,” a narrator in the ad says. “Congressman Connie Mack IV. His record includes bar brawls, road rage, and resisting arrest. A past of debts and liens. An overdrawn checking account while in Congress. A loan from dad to pay his taxes. His yacht club sued him. The condo association took him to court. Now he’s running for Senate. But Florida families can’t afford Connie Mack’s party tab.”
The group airing the spot, Majority PAC, said Mack’s history made him an unfit candidate for the Senate.
“Connie Mack plays fast and loose with his money and with the law,” wrote Rebecca Lambe, strategist for Majority PAC, in a statement. “Somebody as reckless as Connie Mack shouldn’t be allowed to set foot in the United States Senate.”
Mack’s financial history, along with the incidents of road rage and bar fighting, arose during Florida’s GOP Senate primary, which Mack overwhelmingly won last week. One of his GOP opponents, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, also made the Charlie Sheen comparison, releasing a video called “Two and a Half Macks” – a play on the television sitcom “Two and a Half Men” that Sheen used to star on.
Many of the claims included in Friday’s ad – including the road rage and bar fights – derive from incidents that occurred more than 20 years ago. Responding to LeMieux’s criticism during the primary, Mack said voters weren’t interested in personal attacks.
“Just in the last couple of weeks, I was at an event, and nobody brought this stuff up,” Mack said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “I asked, ‘Does anybody want to talk about this?’ One lady said, ‘No, because I don’t want anybody asking about what I did in college.'”
Mack, who is challenging two-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson for a Florida Senate seat, sealed his party’s nomination in last week’s GOP primary. A Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday indicated Nelson leading his Republican challenger 50%-41% among likely Florida voters.
The new results marked an uptick for both candidates from a similar poll released Aug. 1, though Nelson saw more of an increase. At the time, 47% of voters said they would back Nelson and 40% said they would pick Mack.
In the new poll, independent voters were divided, with 45% supporting Nelson and 43% favoring Mack.
Majority PAC, founded in 2010, supports Democratic Senate candidates. It has received large donations in 2012 from Euclidean Capital LLC President James H. Simons, as well as from labor unions including SEIU and the American Federation of Teachers, according to FactCheck.org.