Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is defending his U.S. Senate seat this year against Rep. Connie Mack, IV (R-Fla.). The two have been hustled onto a stage together just once this election season for a debate. By the time it was over it seemed like even that was too much for either candidate to endure.
“You talk about loopholes?” Mack balked, a few minutes into the debate. “Senator, you put some cows on your farm to avoid paying taxes.”
“There have been cows on that property for 60 years, since 1952,” Nelson responded.
While the evening was full of personal snipes—a “I’m not gonna let you get away with this” here and a “you know better” there—it also allowed voters a chance to hear the candidates’ positions and visions for the state and the country.
Sen. Nelson has served Florida in the senate since 2000. Prior to that he was a congressman, as well as a state representative.
Rep. Mack was elected to congress in 2004. For the three years before that, he served as a state legislator. The representative is also the son of former U.S. Senator Connie Mack and is married to Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.).
Nelson considers himself an environmental champion. He has pushed for restoration in the Everglades and continues to fight against oil drilling off of Florida’s coasts. The senator was also one of the sponsors of the RESTORE Act, which dictates that 80 percent of the money collected from BP’s Clean Water Act fines stemming from the 2010 oil spill be directed to the Gulf Coast.
Mack stresses his fiscal conservancy— via his Penny Plan—vowing to cut spending and taxes. He opposes the new Affordable Health Care Act and “other liberal experiments,” such as the federal bailouts in response to the economic crisis. The representative is a major proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canadian tar sands to a Texas port.
In the final weeks leading up to the election, both Nelson and Mack ventured into Northwest Florida. The senator touted his record to a crowd at Dharma Blue, while the congressman brought along Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) to a campaign stop at Seville Quarter.
During Nelson’s visit, the senator relayed a campaign ad that won’t be aired in the Panhandle market: “It’s me, talking straight to the camera. It says, ‘When I flew in space I looked back at the Earth and I did not see any political divisions, I did not see any religious divisions, I did not see any ethnic divisions. What I saw is that we’re all in this together.”
At Mack’s event, the congressman talked about Nelson’s cows, balancing the budget, as well as repealing “Obamacare” and Dodd-Frank.
“Let me add one more: as a United States senator, I will vote for defunding of the U.N,” Mack said, adding that the United Nations had recently stated its intention to monitor the U.S. election. “The only ones that are going to observe elections in the U.S. is Americans.”