COMMENTARY | In the Florida Senate primary, the Republican field hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson got a little more crowded this week as former Congressman Dave Weldon jumped into the fray. He's one more politician in this race who refuses to claim he's a politician.
When he left Congress in 2008 after 14 years, Weldon claimed through a spokesman "he never wanted to be a career politician." Sure enough, when he announced his =Senate candidacy, Weldon said, "For me, running for the U.S. Senate isn't a career move. I have a fulfilling career in health care. I have no desire to be a 'career politician.'"
He's joining a primary full of politicians who deny they are politicians or charge others with being a politician. One of them is former Sen. George LeMieux, who accused his rival, Rep. Connie Mack IV, of being "a career politician." Mack, who served in the Florida Legislature from 2000 to 2003 and in Congress from 2004 to 2012, blasted Nelson in an ad for being "a professional politician."
Weldon, LeMieux and Mack aren't the only politicians knocking others for being a politician or denying that they are politicians. House Majority Leader Adam Hasner also attacked Nelson for being a politician. Another Senate candidate, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, claimed Nelson had been in office since Haridopolos was 2 years old. Both dropped out after polling very poorly against the only Republican who isn't really a politician: Mike McCalister, who served in business and the military.
All of this is playing into Nelson's hands. He's dominating all candidates in head-to-head matchups, even as Mitt Romney has a tiny lead over Barack Obama in the Sunshine State. Floridians might not like their politicians much, but they seem to hate phonies who can't admit they have a record of public service, or slam others for being a politician.