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Evangelicals Back McCollum This Time Around

One group of voters that is firmly in the Bill McCollum camp in the govenor's race is those who identify themselves as “born-again evangelicals.” That's a change from 2004 when McCollum had some trouble with the group during the GOP U.S. Senate primary. That's when he was tarred by his opponent, Mel Martinez, as "the new darling of homosexual extremists," in a last minute mailing sent to thousands of voters.

McCollum was attacked for having introduced congressional legislation that would have included homosexuals in a category of potential victims of hate crimes. Martinez went on to win the Republican primary in 2004, sending McCollum to his second defeat in a bid to win a U.S. Senate seat.

Some of the leaders of last year's successful campaign to ban same-sex marriage in Florida have complained about McCollum's commitment to “pro-family” issues.

"When he announced his candidacy recently, the problem was the total absence of anything about core issues like pro-life, pro-family,” said John Stemberger, an Orlando attorney and activist who pushed for the gay marriage ban.

However, a poll from Quinnipiac University released last week showed that evangelical voters have closed ranks around McCollum and prefer him over Democrat Alex Sink by a whopping 56 percent to 17 percent.

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