Connie Mack and Bill Nelson's disdain for each other on display during their only debate meeting

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The two men who want to be Florida’s next US senator went head-to-head in their first and only debate Wednesday night and the disdain each man held for the other was quickly revealed.

Republican Connie Mack accused Democrat Bill Nelson of voting to raise taxes 150 times and casting the deciding vote on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, while Nelson said his challenger is distorting his record.

Mack immediately criticized Nelson on several issues. Nelson calmly said that everything his opponent said is not true.

“In Washington DC, we’ve been on a spending spree,” Mack said. “And we’ve seen year after year after year, we’ve added a trillion dollars to new debt every year. Now some of us, myself included, believe that we need to cut spending and we need to reign in our debt and our deficits. Now Senator Nelson serves on the budget committee and for almost four years has failed to pass a budget.”

“Right off the bat, I have to explain that what he said about the budget is not true,” Nelson said. “Not only did we pass a budget, we passed it in law last year.  This wasn’t a budget resolution that doesn’t have the force of law.  This was an actual act signed into law by the President.”

The debate comes as hundreds of thousands have already cast absentee ballots.

The debate lasted about an hour, with both candidates answering questions from a panel of journalists. It was sponsored by the Florida Press Association and Leadership Florida.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.