Former Senator Bob Smith Bows Out of Senate Race
"I embarked on this campaign because America's very survival is in grave danger," Smith said in an email to supporters. "Rhetoric and party politics will not save America for our grandchildren. It will only be courageous action and strong conservative leadership. I believe that I had the experience to provide that conservative leadership. However, it was not to be."
Lack of fundraising success appears to have ultimately been what prompted Smith to end his campaign.
"I have always recognized that my U.S. Senate Campaign would need a degree of major funding to succeed," Smith said in his statement. "Unfortunately, funding has not materialized and I must now end my campaign."
Smith served in the U.S. Navy during the 1960’s, including a tour in Vietnam. In the 1980's he was elected to Congress from New Hampshire and later served two terms in the U.S. Senate.
Smith campaigned against rivals Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio by positioning himself as the only candidate to have served in the military and the only one with experience in Washington, DC. The former Senator appeared twice as a guest on the Jacksonville Observer Radio Show and discussed the issues that he felt would set him apart from the other candidates in the race.
A foreign policy hawk, Smith was endorsed by former Congressman and Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter. His campaign was also heavily focused on his opposition to illegal immigration and so-called amnesty proposals.
Running to the right of both Crist and Rubio, Smith expressed his frustration that the two men were inauthenticly conservative. He had particularly harsh words for Rubio, charging that the former House Speaker's moniker as the candidate of Tea Party supporters was "bogus" and demanding that Rubio release full records of his Republican Party of Florida credit card bills. Following Rubio's failure to appear at a candidate forum, the Smith campaign took to calling him "No Show Marco" for a time.
In October of 2009, Smith recieved about 9% of the vote in a Palm Beach County GOP straw poll. His campaign struggled for attention and was largely ignored by pollsters. Statewide, his support levels probably fell within the margin of error.
"As I leave the U.S. Senate race, I urge you to continue to ask the tough questions," said Smith. "Demand detailed positions and constitutional solutions from not only the U.S. Senate candidates but all federal candidates. Do not allow candidates the luxury of squishy sound bite platitudes from the party playbook."
Smith's exit will likely have minimal impact on the race, though it could be seen as a slight boost for Rubio.