WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Eight days before voters in Florida cast their votes in the Primary Election, Dave Weldon, the Brevard County physician who left Congress in 2008 after a seventh term and is now a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said the support of undecided voters could give him the votes he needed to defeat frontrunner U.S. Representative Connie Mack IV on August 14th.
"It's an uphill battle. I will admit that," Weldon told NewsChannel 5. "[A lot] of practical people are writing me off, but a lot of people are getting on board, and I think there's still a chance to pull this out. We are continuing to gain momentum."
Weldon, a social conservative who recently received the endorsement of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, said one the Primary Election's biggest challenges was Mack's name.
"A lot of people think they're voting for his father," he said. "My father was a postal clerk. He was not a United States Senator. He does have some baggage that he would bring to this race if he is our nominee. Florida voters need to take that into their calculation."
In an era of political divisiveness, Weldon told NewsChannel 5 he would meet Democrats in the middle to work on fundamental tax and entitlement reform.
He also said he was the best-prepared candidate to tackle health care reform.
"I honestly feel health policy issues are going to dominate the debate in Washington, DC, in the years ahead because we have very, very serious problems in our health care delivery programs," he said. "Calling the Affordable Care Act affordable when it adds a trillion dollars of debt to our grandchildren and our children, I mean, who are we kidding? Who can afford this? I think if you empower people and you insert market forces into healthcare delivery in this country it will go a long way to bring costs down."
"I certainly think we need to address the issue of the uninsured," he continued. "Somebody who has say, a family of four, and they only have an income of $40,000, they can't afford a $10,000 a year health insurance plan. So, give them a tax credit to help them. The tax credit, I think, is a good idea. And, there are lots of other things I think we can do to make health care more accessible [and] more affordable. Probably the most important thing we need is expanded tax treatments of medical savings accounts."
Weldon has seen his stock rise recently.
In addition to the Focus on the Family endorsement, the editorial boards of The Naples Daily News and the Palm Beach Post have endorsed him over Mack.
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