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Election 2004

Mack takes stride to follow dad

Connie Mack IV beats three rivals in a quest to succeed U.S. Rep. Porter Goss.

By Associated Press
Published September 1, 2004

BONITA SPRINGS - Connie Mack IV took another stride toward following in his father's steps Tuesday by defeating three opponents to win a Republican congressional primary.

The elder Mack, a former U.S. senator who once held the 14th District House seat his son seeks, was beaming with pride as his son claimed victory.

"I'm almost overwhelmed by it," said Connie Mack III. "His ideas, his principles reflect, I think, the Republican Party today, the ideas of less government, more freedom."

It was one of four GOP and six Democratic primaries in Florida for the U.S. House but the only one with an open seat at stake.

U.S. Rep. Porter Goss, R-Sanibel, announced last year he would not seek re-election in the district. President Bush has nominated Goss, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, as Central Intelligence Agency director.

Mack, 37, resigned from the Florida House to concentrate on the race for the southwest Florida congressional seat.

With 259 of 260 precincts reporting, Mack had 36 percent of the votes, compared with Fort Myers state Rep. Carol Green's 32 percent, Lee County Commissioner Andy Coy's 22 percent and Naples cardiologist Frank Schwerin's 10 percent.

Mack moved to his boyhood hometown of Fort Myers from Fort Lauderdale so he could run.

Mack will be the clear favorite against Democrat Robert Neeld, a Cape Coral accountant. Republicans hold 18 of Florida's congressional seats to seven for the Democrats going into the Nov. 2 general election.

In another congressional primary, Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings of Fort Lauderdale defeated weekly newspaper publisher Keith Clayborne, of Coral Springs. With 50 percent of precincts reporting, Hastings had 74 percent compared with Clayborne's 26 percent. The Democratic nominee will take office; there are no Republican or third-party candidates.

A Brown was assured of winning in the 3rd District, where Rep. Corrine Brown of Jacksonville defeated Prince Brown, a former U.S. public health officer from Orlando, in the Democratic primary. With 92 percent of the precincts counted, Corrine Brown had 81 percent, the challenger, 19 percent. The only opposition in November will come from Johnny M. Brown, a write-in candidate from Palatka.

Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Sarasota, had no primary opposition in the 13th District, but four Democrats ran for the right to challenge her.

Sarasota lawyer Jan Schneider, who lost to Harris two years ago, will get another chance to challenge her. With all precincts counted, Schneider had 47 percent of the votes compared with Sarasota banker Christine Jennings' 38 percent. Palmetto lawyer C.J. Czaia got 9 percent and Bradenton college professor Floyd Jay Winters 7 percent.

Republican incumbent Rep. Ander Crenshaw of Jacksonville defeated a primary challenger. With virtually all precincts in, Crenshaw had 90 percent, compared with retired Jacksonville air traffic controller Deborah Pueschel's 10 percent. She lost to Crenshaw in 2002 and 2000, in the 4th District. Crenshaw will be opposed by a write-in candidate in November.

With all precincts reporting in the 18th District Democratic primary, Pine Crest law school graduate Sam Sheldon apparently had won by 302 votes. Sheldon had 12,775 votes, or 51 percent, compared with retired Miami Beach Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer David Patlak's 12,473 votes, or 49 percent.

The winner will face Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami.

[Last modified September 1, 2004, 01:09:34]

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