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Tags: Jeff Greene

GOP Turnout Way Ahead in Florida?



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Can this be right?

In the GOP primary in Florida, a foregone conclusion for Rubio, 787,122 total votes cast.

In the Democratic primary, an actual competitive race between Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene, 489,384 total votes cast.

UPDATE: Similar disparity in the gubernatorial primaries, although my assumption is that you get more votes in more closely divided and harder-fought primaries:

Vote in GOP primary for governor:  806,123 total votes cast.

Vote in Democratic primary for governor: 469,230 total votes cast.

Were Republicans more interested in their gubernatorial primary than Democrats were in their senatorial primary?

ANOTHER UPDATE: On nights like tonight, a lot of my quick observations end up on Twitter before they end up here.

  • DNC chair Tim Kaine: “The president still has numbers most senators would like to have.” Pollster.com avg: 51.4% disapprove, 44.6% approve.
  • Larry King: “So, governor, where do you get your money from?” Charlie Crist: “The people, honestly, Larry.” #eyeroll
  • Is it my television or does Charlie Crist look Burnt Sienna tonight?
  • Were Fla. Republicans more interested in their contested gubernatorial primary than Fla. Democrats were in their Senatorial primary
  • Florida GOP gubernatorial primary: 806,123 total votes cast. In Democratic primary: 469,230 total votes cast.
  • In Florida’s eighth, it appears Daniel Webster will indeed be taking on the Devil, a.k.a., Alan Grayson.
  • Right now Jeff Greene is probably wondering, “Why did Rick Scott’s big money and negative ads work and mine didn’t?”

Tags: Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

It’s Rubio vs. Crist vs. Meek.



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CNN projects Kendrick Meek will win the Democratic Senate primary in Florida.

That is fantastic news for Marco Rubio, whose victory speech was interrupted by CNN breaking in to announce Meek’s win.

Jeff Greene spent $23 million of his own fortune to come in second.

Also among the early surprises of the night: Right now, Democrat Allen Boyd, congressman in the 2nd district, has only 51 percent in his party’s primary. He’ll probably build on this, but obviously there are a lot of Democrats who were underwhelmed with the incumbent’s performances and stances and were tempted by his primary rival, state senate minority leader Al Lawson.

He will, at this point, probably be facing Steve Southerland, who owns a chain of funeral homes. (Insert your own morbid metaphor here.)

Tags: Charlie Crist , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Will Negative Ads Prove Counter-productive in Florida This Year?



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One of my regulars offers an assessment from Florida . . .

Voters are EXHAUSTED with the negative ads. This might be something building down there. Anyone without a real message other than attacking their opponent may not get any traction with voters. Scott and Greene might both be in real trouble, unless their money bought a ton of early votes. Voters really turned against them after the subpoena for Scott and the reports of antics on Greene’s boat with Mike Tyson . . .

If they go down, that’s a stunning defeat for these two money bags throwing so much money into the races and at the end, could well lose by a very good margin.

That would shape up to be a race between Alex Sink, Bill McCollum, and Lawton Chiles III in the governor’s race and Kendrick Meek, Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist in the Senate race. As long as Meek is over 20 percent in the polls, I don’t see him dropping out . . . The greatest risk to Rubio in a M-R-C match-up is Meek dropping out the last minute (but not so late, because of early votings in Florida) and endorsing Crist . . . (maybe the other way around — Crist endorsing Meek last minute so he can beg for some job in the Obama administration!) . . . Bottom line, the voters are up in arms against the negative ads. They’ve had it. They want a good positive agenda . . . Rubio’s absence from the slugfest between the candidates and the money-bags may be a good thing. People are not looking for someone to blame and to whack the other guy, but rather someone to come in and fix the darn situation now . . .  A good analog is the boat is sinking, taking in water, and there is a big gusher in the boat . . . If all the voters see is three guys fighting each other and not fixing a darn thing, all three will get punished. 

Then there’s this late poll:

The Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by the Orlando Sentinel and other news organizations found McCollum with 45 percent support among likely voters compared to 36 percent support for the former health care executive, with Republican Mike McAlister drawing 4 percent.

The nine-point advantage among 500 GOP voters surveyed Tuesday through Thursday suggests undecided voters are breaking two-to-one for McCollum since the last Mason-Dixon poll a week earlier found him with a four-percentage point lead. The former Longwood congressman is now leading in every region of the state save for Scott’s home turf in southwest Florida.

Tags: Alex Sink , Bill McCollum , Charlie Crist , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio , Rick Scott

Jeff Greene Hits Meek Below the Waterline: His Taxpayer-Funded Car



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I get e-mails from the Senate campaign of Jeff Greene, Florida Democrat, several times a day, often reminding me how his primary rival, Kendrick Meek, is history’s greatest monster. After a while, these messages get easy to tune out, but I think he’s hit on something pretty eye-opening here:

MEEK’S $977 A MONTH LEASED CAR

Meek One of Only 100 Members to Lease Car. Out of 435 members, only about 100 members of the House lease a car at taxpayer expense. [Wall Street Journal, 5/30/09]

Meek Has Spent $78,897 of Taxpayer Money on His Car. Since he has been in office, Kenrick Meek has spent $78,897 on car leases. This does not include expenses. [Meek Congressional office disbursements, Jan. 2003 to present]

Meek’s Car Has Cost More Than Median Family Income in Florida. The 2008 median family income for Florida was $58,339. [www.census.gov]

Meek Has Taxpayer Lease His Car Because the Cars He Owns are in DC. “Rep. Kendrick Meek spent $977 a month to lease a ‘flexible-fuel’ GMC Yukon that runs on gas or a blend of gas and ethanol under a House rule requiring members to lease green vehicles. The monthly payment is high because representatives cannot use their allowances for down payments, and the lease is only for two years, coinciding with their term in office, said Meek’s spokesman, Adam Sharon. A Miami Democrat who is running for the U.S. Senate, Meek took his own cars along with his family to Washington after being elected, and needs to rent a vehicle in his district, Sharon said.” [Sun-Sentinel, 3/7/10]

Nearly $12,000 per year to lease a car? In what many voters would describe as Year Three of a Recession? To heck with that.

A lot of analysts think Rubio’s best shot is with Meek as the Democratic nominee; the thinking is that African-Americans will stick with Meek, Crist has a slice of the Democrats underwhelmed with Meek and some center-left types, and Rubio gets the biggest share.

I’m not quite so sure. If Jeff Greene wins the primary, he’ll probably immediately go to work tearing down Crist in an expensive ad campaign. It’s his lone shot: drive down Crist’s numbers and try to win head-to-head against Rubio.

Also keep in mind that Marco Rubio’s campaign hasn’t run a television ad since spring.

UPDATE: I remembered something about a car in Time’s profile of Meek that seemed way too optimistic about his chances. Upon a second glance, this part deserves better scrutiny:

He’s got a larger base — Democrats have a 750,000-voter advantage — though unlike Rubio, he hasn’t proven that he can nail it down.

Meek acknowledged that while driving my car from the restaurant to another condo event. (Ever the trooper, the first thing he did after squeezing into my driver’s seat was remove the old parking stubs from my dashboard; he explained that their reflection in the windshield could impair visibility.)

Thankfully, Meek wasn’t using his taxpayer-funded car for campaign work. But there’s something a bit odd here: Do political correspondents for Time magazine traditionally loan their cars to Democratic Senate candidates?

Tags: Charlie Crist , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Florida’s Poll Numbers, Stuck in a Holding Pattern



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Quinnipiac’s latest poll in Florida’s Senate race . . . looks a lot like the previous ones:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist leads the three-way race for the U.S. Senate seat with 37 percent, followed by 32 percent for Republican Marco Rubio and 17 percent for Jeff Greene, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.  If U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek wins the Democratic primary, Crist’s lead would be 39 percent to 33 percent for Rubio and 13 percent for Meek.

Raise your hand if you foresaw a Democrat getting 13 percent in a three-way race for Senate in Florida.

If Greene is the Democratic nominee, one factor working for Rubio is that billionaire Greene and Charlie Crist will be competing for the same voters, and Greene will probably finance millions upon millions of negative ads hammering Crist. One factor working against Rubio in that scenario is that Greene has enough money to run millions in negative ads hammering anybody, and if the race appeared to be coming down to Rubio and Greene . . . well, Jon Corzine’s career shows you how far a personal fortune spent on negative ads can take you. On the other hand, “real-estate mogul who made beaucoup bucks on the housing collapse and brought Heidi Fleiss to Passover” might seem just too weird, even for Florida.

A fan of Rubio offered some arguments to me, noting that over the past three months, Crist has had an enormous earned media advantage but that has so far failed to change the dynamics in the Senate race. Indeed, Rubio stopped advertising when he “won” the primary and is stockpiling his resources for a big autumn push, so trailing by a few points is not a terrible place to be.

This fan of Rubio points to Quinnipiac’s observation that if the Democrat gets into the mid to high 20’s, Crist’s chances of winning decrease substantially. Crist is also on the wrong side of public opinion on Obamacare . . . at least for today.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Florida Loves Wealthy Outsiders!



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It appears this was the wrong year to be a member or former member of the U.S. House of Representatives running for statewide office in Florida against a guy with gobs and gobs of money.

Florida businessman Rick Scott holds a 43 – 32 percent lead over State Attorney General Bill McCollum for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of likely primary voters released today.  Another 23 percent are undecided and 43 percent of those who do name a candidate say they might change their mind.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, businessman Jeff Greene has jumped to a 33 – 23 percent lead over U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, with former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre at 4 percent.  But 35 percent are undecided and 54 percent of those who name a candidate say they might change their mind.

Just remember, on June 4, Time wrote a piece on Meek entitled, “How Florida’s Forgotten Democrat Could Win the Senate Race.”

He’s going to have to do better than 23 percent in his own primary.

Tags: Bill McCollum , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Rick Scott

New Meek Ad Not Very Meek



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On the Democrat side of the Florida Senate fight, the gloves are off. Kendrick Meek has just launched a new ad that claims his primary foe, Jeff Greene, “helped fuel the economic meltdown.”
 

Tags: Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek

Candidates Push Fundraising in Advance of August Primary



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“We need to raise $50,000 online before that date in order to go on the air and stay there,” wrote Kendrick Meek, Democratic Senate candidate, in an email to supporters on Monday afternoon. “We’re just days away from the biggest deadline in this race so far, and I need you more than ever before.” Meek is under a primary threat from the self-financed Jeff Greene, and the candidates’ finance reports are due Aug. 4.

Voter registration for the primary closed yesterday, and because Florida is a “closed primary” state only party members are allowed to cast primary ballots for party candidates. The primary election is Aug. 24, but early voting begins Aug. 9.

Tags: Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek

Look Closer at the Florida Airwaves



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Charlie Crist will probably try to remain mum on whether, if elected Florida’s next senator, he would vote to make Harry Reid (or Chuck Schumer or Dick Durbin) or Mitch McConnell the majority leader.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t be defined by this choice in the interim:

How many Republicans will stay on the Crist bandwagon if they know a vote for him is a vote for Democratic control of the Senate?

Before the holiday break, Chris Cillizza asked whether Marco Rubio had peaked too early in the Florida Senate race.

I would note that when Crist left the GOP primary at the end of April, Team Rubio stopped running television ads, as the GOP primary was now effectively over. The Rubio campaign has been off the airwaves for all of May, June, and so far in July. And you can see that Rubio leveled off right around then:

Also notice we’ve seen only three polls in this state since June 1, and the most recent one was three weeks ago. The oil spill probably created a bit of a “rally around the flag” effect for Crist, but in the weeks since, Rubio’s been hammering Crist for his praise of the federal response so far. Meanwhile, Democrat Kendrick Meek continues to appear on the side of milk cartons, under the words “HAVE YOU SEEN ME?” How important is television advertising in Florida statewide races? Elsewhere on NRO, Neal Freeman notes that $4 million in television ads — not even particularly good or persuasive television ads! — has Jeff Greene now competitive in the Democratic Senate primary.

We’ll know more about how each candidate has done in fundraising shortly, but Rubio was proving a fundraising powerhouse, and should have substantial resources to take to the airwaves this fall — once voters are tuning in to the race more closely.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

The Greene and Meek Debate



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Florida Democrats are already enduring a Senate front-runner who’s polling in the mid-teens in a three-way race (Kendrick Meek); they probably cringed during this morning’s rough-and-tumble debate:

The debate seemed to be fizzling out as Greene and Meek agreed on the issues. However when asked about the federal stimulus bill backed by President Obama, Meek praised the measure–and then bashed Greene for his role in Wall Street scandals.

Greene taunted Meek, saying the only job he had created was a consulting job for his mother. Meek went after Greene for the attack, noting his mother’s long career in public service when she was a single mother.

Despite that testy exchange, both of the candidates offered some support for the stimulus. “We would have gone into a depression, not a recession, if it weren’t for the stimulus bill,” said Meek.

Greene said the stimulus did not do enough for permanent job growth. “We’re in an economic world war right now,” said Greene. “This isn’t a skirmish.” Greene warned that other nations were looking to take American jobs. Both candidates ended the debate by attacking one another again, Meek insisting that Greene’s career in finance hurt working Floridians and Greene insisting that Meek represented corrupt politics as usual.

Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist are obviously hard-fighting rivals, but I bet they could have gotten together and watched this debate over popcorn.

Tags: Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek

I’m the Billionaire Real Estate Mogul Who’s on Your Side



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An ad suddenly popping up on my GMail account:

Stop Career Politicians – www.jeffgreene.com – Join Jeff Greene – a real outsider who will get results for Florida.
And on his new site, Jeff Greene offers a video about why he’s running. Maybe I’ve seen too many ads this year, but to me, this opening introductory monologue appears to hit every cliché of this year: “focused on getting results” “putting the people of Florida first” “career politicians we’ve sent to Washington have played partisan games” “I owe nothing to the special interests” “stand up to the power brokers in Washington and Wall Street” “getting results will be what drives me” “I have a real plan” “once and for all, ending our dependence on foreign oil” . . . If you have a campaign speech cliché bingo card, you probably have a straight line after two minutes.

Modestly interesting is that he’s refusing all contributions above $100.

Tags: Jeff Greene

Mean Jeff Greene



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Today’s Jolt includes tales of past White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but in the more substantive news of the morning:

Greene With Envy

I used up a lot of my thoughts on Charlie Crist yesterday, but I’m starting to wonder if Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek removed some cursed jewel from an Egyptian tomb or something, because the exact day that he gets his luckiest break of the campaign, self-made billionaire real estate mogul Jeff Greene announces he’s running for Senate as a Democrat. Hey, Primary Day does matter in Florida this year after all!

This profile of Greene makes his life story appear to be a Horatio Alger story told by David Lynch, with a few potential campaign trail pitfalls strewn here and there: Who has Mike Tyson as his best man at his wedding? (Insert a particularly wickedly smart righty mind’s joke about Michael Steele: If you can’t convince your sister that marrying Mike Tyson is a bad idea, you’re not allowed to be RNC Chairman.) Who takes Richie Cunningham to the California Supreme Court over a rental dispute? Host to Heidi Fleiss for a year after her prison stint? And then invites her to Passover with his mother? Any candidate who can be easily linked to Paris Hilton, Heidi Fleiss and Mike Tyson is a little outside the norm, but then again, this is Florida, where the political class is a bit more colorful and roguish than the national average: Mark Foley and the pages, Tim Mahoney cheating on his mistress, Katherine Harris, Alcee Hastings (the sixth federal judge to be impeached and removed from office in American history who then went to Congress). Somebody’s got to give Carl Hiassen all that material for his novels.

Still, Greene can run as the one guy with the smarts and clear vision to see the housing bubble coming, a boast few current members of the Senate could match. Could Greene win? Well, even a tiny fraction of Greene’s fortune goes a long way even in an expensive state like Florida, and he can put up a lot of ads touting what a swell guy he is and how Kendrick Meek is responsible for all that ails Florida and/or the known universe.

The most likely scenario is that Greene spends a lot and falls short as he’s built no trust, no established relationship with Florida Democrats and African-Americans deliver enough votes to get Meek the nomination. Having said that, Kendrick Meek effectively inherited his House seat from his mother (she resigned shortly before the filing deadline, he was the lone Democrat, and no Republican ran, making him a non-incumbent who ran unopposed in his first bid for Congress) and has never run against a Republican opponent.

At Red State, Moe Lane notes an underexposed angle in all this: “If Crist really does declare an independent run this afternoon Sen. Cornyn of the NRSC will wind up looking foolish, true. Only thing is, Sen Menendez of the DSCC is going to end up looking even worse. He’s the one who recruited a candidate that Rasmussen has in third in a GOP split and who PPP reports is less popular than Crist. And now the DSCC actually has to go all-in on a bad fundraiser and an uninspiring candidate*.  That’s bad enough in a year where they’re playing offense – which is to say, a year that’s not 2010.”

Tags: Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek

Greene May Spend a Lot of Green



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Ha-ha, Florida Democrats chuckle. “Look at those silly Republicans! Now they’ve got Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist splitting the non-Democratic vote! Our guy, Kendrick Meek, has a much clearer path!”

And now, Kendrick Meek has a billionaire primary competitor: Jeff Greene.

Ordinarily, a guy with no political experience, jumping in late, can be dismissed as a minor factor. Except Greene’s a billionaire.

Self-made.

Kendrick Meek’s day went south faster than Jack Bauer’s.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Jeff Greene , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

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