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Nelson, other candidates gather in Fort Myers

By Staff | Oct 31, 2012

The Farmer’s Market in Fort Myers was apparently the perfect place Tuesday for a senatorial candidate to make a campaign stop as the final days tick away before the presidential election.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson made a campaign stop late Tuesday afternoon to meet with voters, pose for pictures, sign campaign placards and maybe try out the chicken and dumplings.

It’s also the perfect place for candidates for local office, Democrats and Republicans, to take advantage of some of the glow as a way to get their platform out to voters.

Nelson, who said he had campaigned already in Tampa and Orlando and was going back on the trail tonight, was confident he would be re-elected.

“It’s the environment, education and the budget. That’s what resonates with the people,” Nelson said. “We’re surging.”

With polls showing Nelson leading Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, it was the place for local pols to make their pitch to voters.

U.S. Rep. candidate Jim Roach, who is battling Trey Radel for Mack’s soon-to-be vacated seat, was happy for Nelson’s visit, since his ideals so match his, and confident he could win Nov. 6.

“Nelson is a moderate who appeals to all voters. He runs a campaign to all people, not to one party,” Roach said. “We can win if the message gets out. All we’ve done in two years will pay off in seven days.”

State senatorial candidate Debbie Jordan, running against Lizbeth Benequisto in the 30th Senate District, was ecstatic to meet Nelson and maybe get a bump from his visit.

“It’s feels great, so positive, not negative,” Jordan said. “Everything is lining up for us to win. I’ll be out from sunrise to sunset meeting people and telling them to vote.”

But not everyone there was a Democrat. GOP County Commissioner candidate Cecil Pendergrass was in the far corner of the restaurant being grilled by members of the Sierra Club.

Pendergrass said he went there to eat, but ended up on the stump.

“I didn’t come here to campaign. I came to eat and see who’s here. I know half these people,” Pendergrass said, adding, “I’m here to be a leader of all Lee County. We have serious issues and I’m looking forward to resolve them.”