On Wednesday, Florida's Senate contenders face-off in the state's only Senate debate.
Florida's Senior Senator Democrat Bill Nelson will debate challenger Congressman Connie Mack IV. With Republicans fighting to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats, both parties see the race in Florida as extremely important. A recent poll shows Sen. Nelson 5 points ahead 47% to 42%. With a 3.5% margin of error, the race could still very much go either way. We can expect Nelson to lump Mack into the dismally rated Congress while Mack tries to paint Nelson as an across-the-board liberal in a swing state where far from everyone would approve of such politics.
It remains to be seen if the candidates will be nearly as negative as the ads being run in their state are. Florida's famously high proportion of elderly voters will probably make it so that the debaters will keep an air of civility and will resist going at each others throats.
Being the co-sponsor of a balanced budget amendment means that some wonky fiscal policy will probably be brought up. If that happens, Nelson will be ready with retorts about how combined with Mack's signature of a pledge not to raise taxes, this means that social security will be gutted. Either way, both candidates are essentially going to look in the camera and say, “Seniors you better beware of this other guy here.”
PolicyMic will be live blogging the Florida Senate debate, which will begin at 7:00 p.m., by providing real-time coverage and analysis. For updates, refresh this page.
7:56 Closing Statements. Nelson: My opponent is a liar. I was in space once and it taught me we gotta be bipartisan. Mack: Nelson likes Obamacare and hates the military and he rose taxes one hundred and fifty times. I love the American spirit and the American dream. Mitt Romney needs us. Vote for your vote.
7:55 Question: Should we lift embargo with Cuba? Nelson: No, but we should let families travel. Mack: Those Castro brothers are brutal. My man Keeko told me they are super bad dudes. We're not lifting the embargo until those guys chill out and stop hurting people and open up free speech
7:51 WHO'S THE MOST DANGEROUS PERSON IN THE WORLD?! Mack responds: ...no one. Nelson responds: Biggest threat is terrorist threat. (Note that's not a singlular person)
7:47 Mack doesn't support amnesty. But he does have an anecdote about someone named Keeko who became a citizen legally and gave Mack his first job.
7:46 Question what are you going to do about immigration? Nelson answers: I always had those cows....also I voted for immigration reform and I support and voted for the DREAM Act
7:37 Question: What will you do about the housing crisis? Nelson: Florida is hurt by this. I tried stuff to help. Mack: I knew a guy that was hurt. I tried to use what Nelson and Obama voted for but the guy wouldn't use it because it went against what he believed in and when he did try to do it the banks said no 'cause of regulations.
7:33 Mack really wants us to know that Nelson voted with Barack Obama 98% of the time
7:31 Mack weakened the Violence Against Women Act
7:27 Overall a vague debate where Nelson sounds like a statesman but Mack sounds calmer. Though it also seems like Mack is falling back to memorized talkig points. Its no wonder that Nelson said Mack is "repeating" himself. Though repeating yourself is not always bad. Just look at Republicans strategy of hammering on the economy this whole election.
7:24 asked about having to list what they would cut (2 would have to for real reform) defense, medicare and social security they both talked about what they would save. Nelson said he'd cut defense. Mack said he'd protect medicare...over and over.
7:18 Mack "You know better than that" (this debate sounds like a scolding teacher)
7:16 Nelson "I'm not gonna let you get away with this"
7:12 Mack says: I don't know what Florida Nelson is talking about. I know this business that couldn't expand 'cause of regulation. Government is out of control! Did I mention Nelson raised taxes over one hundred and fifty times? I trust the American people. Not the government
7:12 Nelson responds: jobs are slowly coming back just check the numbers. It would go faster if congress could get its act together.
7:10 Question "Why are you better suited than your opponent to fix the economy and make jobs?"
7:09 Mack says Nelson put cows on his farm to avoid taxes!
7:08 Nelson responds: We passed a budget and made it law.
7:07 Question: What would you cut that Floridians actually like? Mack responds with: "Check my website. But Nelson never passed a budget"
7:03 Mack comes out swinging! Obamacare, cut medicare, and blaming Nelson for over 100 tax rises in his first minute! This guys going for the throat. Nelson does seem stately speaking of the value of bipartisanship at start, but does it have impact?
6:56 I hope that instead of just rehashing the national debate they attempt to craft their message to Florida specifically. Social Security, immigration, and the housing crisis impact Florida disproportionately. Immigration is a boon for Nelson. Social Security really depends on who wins the economic argument. Housing is good for Nelson as an incumbent because of the latest numbers