The primary isnt over yet, but Bill Nelson expects his general election rival for U.S. Senate will be Connie Mack IV, and he has launched his first statewide ad attacking his rival.
Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, released the ad against Mack, a Republican congressman from Fort Myers, on Aug. 2. It seeks to paint Mack as a brawling incompetent.
Narrator: Florida, meet Connie Mack IV. A promoter for Hooters with a history of bar room brawling, altercations and road rage. A big spender with a trail of debts, liens and unpaid bills. He has one of the worst attendance records in Congress this year but he still voted to end Medicare as we know it. Questionable work habits. A sense of entitlement. Connie Mack, he thinks the rules are different for him.
That echoes some online attacks by Macks Republican primary opponent George LeMieux, who dropped out of the race in June because of Macks overwhelming lead in the polls and fundraising.
LeMieux claimed Macks only real job in the real world was an events coordinator for Hooters. We ruled that Mostly False because Mack had some additional private sector jobs including selling fitness equipment. PolitiFact Florida also recently checked a claim by another Mack Republican rival, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon, that Mack missed almost half his votes in Congress this year. We rated that Mostly False. Although Mack had missed votes, he had not missed that many.
In this report, we will briefly review Macks Hooters-related job and whether he had a history of bar room brawling, altercations and road rage.
Macks work for Hooters
Mack campaign spokesman David James told us for our previous fact check about Hooters that Mack was a marketing executive for LTP Management from 1994 to 2000. The company owned and operated several Hooters franchises in Florida, as well as Dan Marinos Town Tavern and Lulus Bait Shack.
Mack never received a paycheck directly from Hooters, but we never denied he worked on behalf of Hooters, James said.
Hooters has often been mentioned in articles throughout Macks political career, which started with a state House seat he won in 2000. He won his first congressional race in 2004.
A 2000 Palm Beach Post article quipped: When he announced his candidacy in November, he mentioned his broad business experience surely an unintentional pun. The Tampa Bay Times The Buzz blog recently posted Macks Hooters business card.
Nelsons ad cited a 2012 POLITICO blog headline: Connie Macks Hooters connection. The blog stated that Mack, his political action committee and his wife, U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., received nearly $50,000 in donations from Hooters management during their time in office.
Our one criticism about this part of the ad is that Nelson didnt make it clear that Macks Hooters-related work ended more than a decade ago. Calling Mack a promoter for Hooters leaves the impression that Mack currently works for Hooters. That isnt accurate he stopped working for LTP management in 2000.
A history of bar room brawling, altercations and road rage
Now lets turn to the portion of the ad where the narrator said Mack had a history of bar room brawling, altercations and road rage. On the screen the word arrest also appears.