The Florida Senate race takes another unexpected turn as pro-life former Republican Congressman Dave Weldon has decided to jump into the race. He will face Congressman Connie Mack IV, former Senator George LeMieux and businessman Mike McCalister for the Republican nomination.
At one time the field also included Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and former State Representative Adam Hasner, who is now running for Congress instead. Unlike in 2010 when pro-life voters rallied to the side of Marco Rubio over the generally pro-abortion Gov. Charlie Crist, there appears to be no clear favorite in the 2012 race.
Dr. Dave Weldon served in Congress from 1995-2008. In his seven terms, he maintained a sterling pro-life record. Unlike his would-be general election opponent Sen. Bill Nelson, Weldon voted to ban partial-birth abortion, to cut funding to abortion providers and against the expansion of embryo-destructive research.
In the Republican field, all of the candidates hold a pro-life position on abortion; however, Congressman Connie Mack supports embryonic stem cell research. In contrast, Weldon has not only spoken out against experimentation on human embryos but also has advocated for ethical adult stem cell research. On his campaign website, Weldon highlights his background as a physician and a leader on efforts to ban human cloning.
In voting for the historic ban on partial-birth abortion, Weldon said, “This is not a religious issue, it is a human issue. The distance between life and death for these babies is a mere three inches. Since Roe v. Wade we have seen 35 million abortions in this nation. The value of human life has been debased in our civilization to the point where animals have protective rights were humans do not. We are knee-deep in a culture of death.”
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If elected to the Senate in 2012, Weldon also pledges to support Obamacare repeal efforts. In his announcement video posted on YouTube, Weldon’s campaign goes after the unpopular healthcare law. In addition, the video notes the threats to religious liberty posed by the Obama Administration and its healthcare mandates. The narrator on the video, titled “Running Mate,” says, “All across Florida and America, people are running, running away from the failed policies of Barack Obama.”
When asked about his reasoning for entering the race, Weldon said, “For me, running for U.S. Senate isn’t a career move. I have a fulfilling career in health care. I have no desire to be a ‘career politician.’ I’ll work to change Washington, not be changed by Washington. I want to commit my experience and talent to solving the problems in Washington by bringing an unflinching conservative approach.”
According to reports, Weldon has hired several former Rick Santorum campaign strategists. However, Santorum himself has not waded into the race. Congressman Connie Mack earned the coveted endorsement of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Sen. Rand Paul and the American Conservative Union also back Mack. Herman Cain, former Governor Haley Barbour and many Florida state lawmakers are standing behind George LeMieux in the race.