TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV blasted U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in a radio campaign ad Tuesday for going along with President Obama’s decision opposing the Keystone XL pipeline project that would carry oil through the nation’s midsection.
Obama said in January when he rejected the pipeline proposal that he would to reconsider the decision if the pipeline could be rerouted further away from a Nebraska aquifer that provides water to several surrounding states.
“The lockstep liberals, Barack Obama and Bill Nelson, refuse to build the Keystone pipeline,” Mack’s ad said. “President Obama and Sen. Nelson are afraid of the political clout of a few leftwing environmental extremists.”
Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said Tuesday the senator supports a proposed second pipeline from Canada.
“He (Nelson) voted for a new and bigger (XL) pipeline with a requirement to keep the oil from Canada in the U.S. domestic supply,” McLaughlin said..
Mack’s also said the Fort Myers lawmaker was starting a petition in hopes of getting Washington to build the pipeline.
It was Mack’s first campaign ad in his bid to win the Republican nomination and unseat Nelson, who is seeking a third term. The ad, however, made no mention of his opponents — former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and Plant City businessman Mike McAlister — in their battle for the Republican nomination. LeMieux was appointed by former Gov. Charlie Crist to serve the final 16 months of former Sen. Mel Martinez’s term.
Mack hopes to win the Senate seat once held by his father, Connie Mack III, who retired in January 2001. The older Mack, now retired in the Fort Myers area, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988 when he defeated Democrat Buddy MacKay in the closest Senate race in Florida history.
Nelson won the seat in 2000 when he defeated Republican Bill McCollum and then won re-election in 2006 with over 60 percent of the vote against former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris.
In the latest poll on the race, Quinnipiac University reported in late March that Nelson led Mack by 8 percentage points, 44 percent to 36 percent, in a survey of 1,228 voters. Quinnipiac put the margin of error in that survey at 2.8 percentage points.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.