Comparing the four-term Naples congressman’s record with the 16 months that rival Republican George LeMieux served in the Senate, the FreedomWorks analysis argues that Mack is the more reliable conservative.
“Perhaps most significantly, Mack was one of the few members of Congress in 2008 who voted against the TARP/Wall Street bailout — twice.
“This shows he is willing to stand up to Republican leadership to take a position he thinks is right,” states the FreedomWorks document released over the weekend.
The “Florida Senate Race Brief” goes on to laud Mack as a Republican who “has challenged [GOP leadership] to be more conservative” and cites his top 10 percent rating among groups such as Club for Growth, the National Taxpayers Union and the American Conservative Union.
“Mack introduced one of the most innovative spending reform proposals we’ve seen — the ‘Penny Plan’ — which is now part of the tea party budget,” FreedomWorks says.
The Mack proposal would cut total federal spending by 1 percent each year for six consecutive years, set an overall spending cap of 18 percent of gross domestic product in 2018, and reduce overall spending by $7.5 trillion over 10 years.
By contrast, LeMieux is excoriated in the briefing paper.
“LeMieux worked with the progressive elites and Democrat leadership in the Senate when he co-sponsored legislation with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass.; Al Franken, D-Minn.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.”
FreedomWorks specifically blasted LeMieux’s sponsorship of four bills:
- S 3990 to extend unemployment benefits.
- S 3442 to federally subsidize research and production of electric vehicles and direct the federal government to purchase such vehicles for its fleet.
- S 3664 to implement green initiatives such as mandating increases in car mileage standards and the amount of alternative energy used by power companies.
- S 3084 to increase Department of Commerce funding to create new government positions to promote private businesses.
Additionally, LeMieux authored S 3402 to allow the Department of Housing and Urban Development to grant loans to low-income families to finance housing upgrades to improve home efficiency.
Yet, Mack — with a history of backing congressional earmarks — has fiscal issues of his own.
On at least four votes between 2005 and 2006, the congressman supported billions of dollars in budget earmarks and stood against removing funding for individual pork.
LeMieux’s campaign was not available to comment on deadline.
Max Pappas of FreedomWorks PAC, said his group has not yet made any financial contributions to Mack but, for now at least, is “making the case for unity.”
Pointing to the recent ouster of veteran Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., by Richard Mourdock in the Hoosier State GOP primary, Pappas noted that LeMieux’s voting record closely tracks that of Lugar and other “RINOs.”
“On the Lugar-authored S 3464 — the Energy and Climate Change Act of 2010 — LeMieux was a co-sponsor with Sen. Lindsey Graham [R-S.C.] and Lisa Murkowski [R-Alaska],” Pappas said.
Digging deeper into LeMieux’s roll calls, FreedomWorks found that of 158 bills co-sponsored by LeMieux, 88 were authored by Democrats.
LeMieux even co-sponsored 11 bills with Nelson, and his voting patterns most closely mirrored Graham’s, considered, at best, a middle-of-the-road Republican by conservatives, and Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.
Despite FreedomWorks’ critique, Florida’s tea party rank and file aren’t necessarily falling into line for the husband of Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif.
Nancy McGowan, a Jacksonville GOP activist, suggests that Mack has “issues of trust” and estimates that “Connie has the same exact support as [Gov. Charlie] Crist did at the start of his run.”