Now that Republican Governor Charlie Crist has announced he will run
the Senate as an independent rather than Republican, the suddenly
three-way Florida senatorial race is getting turned on its head. Once
assumed to be a gimme for the Republican candidate, could the race now be open to a Democrat ? Rep. Kendrick Meek, the presumed front-runner for the
Democratic nomination, is suddenly competitive. But the Democratic nod
isn't sealed and Meek has a tough road ahead.
- Why This Is
Great for Meek The New York Times' Damien Cave explains, "No one would seem to benefit
more from a Crist run as an independent than Kendrick Meek, for one
simple reason: the numbers are on his side. There are at least 650,000
more registered Democrats in Florida than Republicans, and assuming Mr.
Meek wins the primary and registration continues along its expected
path, that lead would amount to about two percentage points in November.
If he does better with Democratic voters than either Mr. Crist or Mr.
Rubio do with Republicans -- and Mr. Crist does not win nearly every
independent vote -- Mr. Meek becomes Florida's next senator."
- Split GOP Hands Meek Victory Newsmax's Susan Estrich exclaims, "If you'd told me a year ago that
Democrats would find themselves within
striking distance of picking up a Senate seat in Florida, running an
African-American congressman no one outside his district had ever heard
of, I'd probably have asked you what you were smoking. But that was
before Florida's still-popular Republican governor
effectively got booted out of his own party in a conservative takeover
that could end with Republicans grabbing defeat from the jaws of
- Should Meek Go Moderate or Liberal? The
Atlantic's Marc Ambinder asks, "Do
Democrat Kendrick Meek and Republican Marco Rubio try to run up their
base percentages, trying to keep Crist from building a coalition, or do
they try to appeal to the broad middle -- even though the middle doesn't
generally turn out in midterm elections?" He answers, "If Meek gets 80
to 85% of the Democratic vote, that's about 40% of the electorate -- a
floor of about 30-32% of the overall vote. ... At the same time, if Meek
swings too far to the left, he collects very few independents, and
can't build on his base."
- Meek Isn't Guaranteed Dem Nod
NBC News' Domenico Montanaro
cautions "while we're all assuming that Kendrick Meek will win the
Dem nomination, don't forget that he primary challengers -- including
one from the eccentric (but very wealthy) Jeff Greene, who will force
Meek to spend a lot of money to win the primary."
- Meek's Crazy
Challenger Politico's Ben Smith profiles the unlikely Democrat.
"Jeff Greene, a flamboyant real estate executive who made more than
half a billion dollars betting against the housing market, will announce
tomorrow he is seeking the Democratic nomination for Senate in Florida,
scrambling an already crowded, high-profile, and expensive race."
However, "Meek has the firm support of the national Democratic
establishment, who fear that despite Greene's billions, his subprime
gamble and his lifestyle -- Mike Tyson was the best man at his wedding
-- make him unelectable."
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