The Washington Post

Ex-Rep. Dave Weldon enters Florida Senate race

Former congressman Dave Weldon has joined the Florida GOP Senate primary, becoming the latest addition to a so-far-disappointing crop of candidates vying to face Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Weldon, who left Congress in 2008, announced his intentions Friday in a Web video and new Web site.

“Instead of running away from Obama, it’s time to run to the front lines and fight Obama, and that’s exactly what Dr. Dave Weldon is doing in officially announcing today that he is running for U.S. Senate,” the narrator says in the video.

Weldon joined Rep. Connie Mack and former senator George LeMieux in what has been a bitterly fought GOP primary.

While neither Mack nor LeMieux is seen as a top-tier recruit, Weldon’s late entry into the primary will certain make setting up a campaign more difficult. It’s very rare that a Senate candidate launches his or her campaign any later than the first couple months of an election year. Weldon now has just six months to put together a successful campaign in a very large and expensive state.

Weldon was elected to the House in 1994 and was known in Congress for his social conservatism, including being a significant player in the Terry Schiavo case.

Democrats immediately labeled Weldon a C-list candidate and said his entry is proof that Republicans don’t have much going for them in the state.

“The fact that there’s still so much turmoil in the Republican field six months from Election Day speaks volumes about their party’s challenges in Florida,” said Shripal Shah, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Unfortunately for the GOP, Congressman Weldon is just as much of a C-lister as Connie Mack and George LeMieux. Whoever wins the primary contest will struggle running against Bill Nelson.”

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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