George LeMieux dropping out of Florida's U.S. Senate race, campaign says

1:11 PM, Jun 20, 2012   |    comments
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TALLAHASSEE, Florida - Campaign officials say former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux is dropping out of this year's U.S. Senate race in Florida.

In a statement released Wednesday, Republican LeMieux says the party had thrown its support behind U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV who enjoys widespread recognition. LeMieux said he could only match that with substantial advertising or the opportunity to debate on statewide television.

LeMieux was seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.

LeMieux was appointed to the Senate by then-Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009 to complete the term after Mel Martinez resigned. Crist ran for the seat in 2010 without party affiliation and lost to current Sen. Marco Rubio.

10 News has reported on allegations that LeMieux got his Senate appointment as a cover-up of rumors that Crist was gay.

Mack is the front runner for the GOP nomination, and LeMieux has in the past said he's been running against "100 years of name recognition." Others running include U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon and retired Army Col. Mike McCalister.

LeMieux posted the following video message on his campaign website announcing his decision:

10 News. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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