We fact-check statements made in the first and only Senate debate here in Florida

6:49 AM, Oct 18, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Fl. - What we got to see Wednesday night during the first and only U.S. Senate debate was the battle that's been brewing between Senator Bill Nelson and Rep. Connie Mack during the campaign.

Plenty of allegations were thrown around, so we're sorting the fact from fiction with PolitiFact Florida.

We'll begin with one by Senator Bill Nelson, hitting Connie Mack on his voting record:

"Speaking of votes, why don't you explain how you don't show up to work. Why don't you explain how this year you have one of the worst voting records. I have missed one vote this year, you have missed 178."

PolitiFact Florida rates this claim, MOSTLY TRUE

According to GovTrack.us, which tracks missed votes for members of Congress, in the first three quarters of this year, Mack missed 178 votes. 65 in the first quarter, 75 in the second and 38 in the third. Nelson is also right in saying he missed one vote.

Why there's a slight issue though is that the House takes more votes than the Senate - and unlike Nelson, Mack faced serious primary challengers and had to campaign more in Florida.

And according to the New York Times, Mack's record places him in 13th for this Congress.

Now to a statement by Mack. This is a subject that has come up often in television ads dealing with tax loopholes:










"You put cows on your farm to avoid taxes. What troubles me about that is that you tell everyone else not to do it, but it's ok for you."

PolitiFact Florida rates this claim, HALF TRUE

Mack is referring to a greenbelt exemption Nelson has used for many years on a family pasture. He gets it for his Brevard County pasture because he leases the land to small-time cattle owners. The current lessee has a herd of about six cows and leases the land free of charge, though he is required to keep up with maintenance.

This claim is similar to a Super PAC ad which says Nelson is "dodging" his taxes.

What is true is that Nelson was shielded from paying about $43,000 in property taxes because of this land, but the claim he's doing it to "avoid" or "dodge" taxes isn't accurate. He's had cattle on the land since 1960.

You can read more about each of these fact-checks - and others from the debate here:




















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