George LeMieux is dropping out of the Florida Senate race.

LeMieux, the former Florida senator who was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to serve out former Sen. Mel Martinez's term, had been running for the Republican nomination to face Sen. Bill Nelson in the fall.

But in a video message today on his Facebook page, LeMieux thanked supporters, and said he and his wife would continue to support the conservative cause.

LeMieux said his campaign was strong, but "the decision has been made by party leadership that there is a better candidate to face Bill Nelson," saying the "establishment" has thrown its support behind his competitor, Congressman Connie Mack IV.

LeMieux says he can only beat Mack with a strong advertising campaign, which he can't afford, and appearances in statewide debates, which he says Mack will not agree to do.   

"It is not my nature to step aside, but there is a reality to running a statewide race in Florida. Without resources or the opportunity to debate, our message simply cannot be heard," LeMieux said.

LeMieux said he would support Mack in the election.

Following the withdrawal announcement, Mack said in a statement:

"We agree that the internal fight among Republicans would not have been helpful in our shared commitment to defeat Bill Nelson. I welcome and thank George for his decision to support my campaign."

Former Congressman Dave Weldon, who just recently joined the race, also issued a statement:

“With George LeMieux dropping out, this now more clearly defines this race as between a conservative, Dave Weldon, and a more moderate Republican, Connie Mack.  In many races across the nation in recent years, the conservative Republican has been winning.  The voters in the state of Florida in the Republican primary now have a more clear choice.”