The Real-Life Bobby Newport

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 6 2012 1:04 PM

The Real-Life Bobby Newport

The Cornelius McGillicuddy dynasty is a storied one. The first in the line became baseball's longest-serving manager, going by the name Connie Mack. The third Cornelius won a U.S. Senate seat in Florida, serving from 1989 to 2001. The fourth won a safe Republican House seat in 2004, quickly established himself as a leading voice on -- of all things -- Hugo Chavez's march toward socialism, and married Sonny Bono's widow Mary, who sort of inherited her husband's House seat.

Republicans waited for the Fourth Mack to make the move to even higher office. He passed on a Senate bid in 2010. He almost passed on a bid this year, letting a few also-rans fight it out, until he changed his mind and jumped into the race, frightening most of them out.

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But why did they get scared? Mack has turned out to be a weak fundraiser, with one-tenth as much money banked as incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson. He's counting on $6.2 million of ads from American Crossroads to punish Nelson and even it up -- not a sign of strength, right?

No. Mack's advantage was that people remember "Connie Mack" and kinda like the brand. How does Nelson undercut this? Ads portraying Mack as a rich jerk who hasn't earned anything.

Has anyone managed a Hooters and gone on to higher office? There's a Florida joke to be made here, but I think the answer is "no."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.