United States Senate election in Florida, 1988
|Elections in Florida|
The 1988 United States Senate election in Florida was held on November 8, 1988. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles decided to retire instead of seeking a fourth term. Republican Connie Mack III won the open seat.
- Bill Gunter, Florida State Treasurer
- Pat Frank, State Senator
- Claude Kirk, Jr., former Governor
- Buddy MacKay, U.S. Representative
- Dan Mica, U.S. Representative
- Connie Mack III, U.S. Representative
- Robert Merkle, former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida
This senate election was heavily targeted by both parties. U.S. Representative Mack announced his candidacy back in October 1987. President Ronald Reagan endorsed Mack in June 1988 to allow Mack to focus on the general election, as he easily won the September 6th Republican primary against U.S. Attorney Robert Merkle. In May 1988, MacKay announced he would run for the open seat, and defeated Insurance Commissioner Bill Gunter in a close October 4 runoff primary election.
The general election became very nasty. MacKay tried to portray the Republican as "extremist." Mack attacked his opponent in television ads by connecting him to unpopular Massachusetts Governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. Mack had help from vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle. The election was so close there was a recount until MacKay conceded eight days after election day.
|Republican||Connie Mack III||2,051,071||50.42%||+12.15%|