The last time the Pinellas GOP held a straw poll in a US Senate primary, in early 2010, the results — Marco Rubio beating hometown favorite Charlie Crist — changed the course of the election.
Tonight’s straw ballot results will likely reinforce the narrative that Mack is a weak front-runner who, seeing no advantage in directly competing against his primary opponents, has recently ducked a series of high-profile events.
This past weekend, Mack blew off a straw poll of the Florida Young Republicans. George LeMieux handily won the nonbinding poll, taking 70% of the vote, while Mack received 19% support.
In addition to the straw polls he is avoiding, Mack has declined an invitation to participate in a July 26 televised debate hosted by the Tampa Bay Times.
Asked why Mack would not be participating in bellwether Pinellas County, Mack spokesman David James, whose quotes seemingly never help his boss, said, “We are focused on running our campaign against liberal Bill Nelson and have other commitments in southeast Florida and therefore not participating in their event. Any such straw poll therefore should not even include Mack’s name.”