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Tags: 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

Rasmussen Puts Rubio Back in Front Again



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The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, July 1: “Has Marco Rubio peaked too early?”

Rasmussen, today: Rubio 36, Crist 34, Meek 15.

As as I noted earlier this week, Rubio’s campaign been off the air for more than two months.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

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

Somebody Wake Up the DSCC’s Cartographer



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On the DSCC’s website is a map of the Senate races this year, and the races that are described as “targeted.”

 

Oddly, in quite a few states, the DSCC is convinced that there are no Senate races: New Hampshire, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, New York, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Kentucky, Utah, Missouri, North Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina. (Okay, I guess we can understand why they might want to ignore their candidate in South Carolina.)

South Dakota’s exclusion can be forgiven, as the Democrats failed to find a candidate.

I had to shrink it down to get it to fit on this page, but I think you can see that only two races are described as “targeted,” Florida and Iowa.

In Florida, the Democratic front-runner is polling in the mid-teens in a three way race.

In Iowa, the Democratic candidate is hitting 40 percent on good days.

Even if the map is supposed to focus only on Senate-seat pickup opportunities, one would expect the Democrats to argue they have a shot against incumbents David Vitter of Louisiana and Richard Burr of North Carolina. In the seats of retiring Republicans, you would think they would argue they could pick up New Hampshire, Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky.

With the DSCC forgetting to tell visitors about a slew of important races, I’m sure the NRSC will tell them, “stay on target.”

UPDATE: Not long after this was posted, the DSCC updated the map.

Tags: Chuck Grassley , Kendrick Meek

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

Why I’m Not Worried About Marco Rubio, Yet



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Lots of readers are looking at new polls in Florida and getting worried about Marco Rubio. I’m not, yet. I’d like to see Rubio leading, obviously, but a couple of things are jumping out at me in recent polling.

1. Democrats are wavering between Crist and Meek. Until April, Kendrick Meek was above 20 percent in a three-way matchup; since then, the bottom has fallen out; in the last four, he’s hit 15, 17, 15, and 14 percent.

This is an astonishingly low level for a major-party candidate in a competitive state. By contrast, Katherine Harris’s disaster of a Senate campaign won 38 percent in a two-way race, in a year when the words “Florida Republican” made people think of Mark Foley.

With one exception, when Meek is ahead of 20 percent, Rubio leads; when Meek is in the teens, Crist leads. 

I have a tough time believing that Meek will not A) win the Democratic primary against Jeff Greene and B) remain in the race until the end. Yes, Meek is barely ahead in the Democratic primary, and Greene is spending a bundle. If Greene manages to spend his way to the Democratic nomination, we’ll have to rethink this; if the Democrats, in a swing state, are represented by a real-estate billionaire who hangs with Heidi Fleiss and Mike Tyson, it is possible that the Democrat’s final percentage on Election Day will be in the neighborhood of Meek’s current puny total.

Presuming the race is Rubio vs. Crist vs. Meek, will most of Florida’s Democrats disagree with Pennsylvania’s Democrats, and vote for the guy who they were rooting against just four years ago? I think a decent number of “Crist Democrats” will come home to Meek.

2. Charlie Crist is likely to have serious cash-flow problems as the race heats up. He has built up money reserves for now, but Florida’s an expensive state to campaign in and Rubio has proven a shockingly successful fundraiserCrist is shut off from most of his national GOP donors. Right now, Charlie Crist dominates the news, because he’s just done something dramatic (leave his party) and every day he’s announcing some shocking about-face on issues, and ironically that’s helping him win the daily message fight.

3. Rally around the state flag: BP oil is starting to reach Florida, and Crist is doing gubernatorial things to protect his state. Instead of looking like a treacherous Oompa-loompa whose ravenous ambition devoured his principles long ago, he looks like the guy who’s trying to protect his state’s pretty wildlife and birds from the Blob.

This helps Crist at the moment, but we don’t know whether this halo effect will still be in place come November.

4. Nobody’s really attacked Crist yet: Remember the phrase, “7 definite flip-flops, 2 rhetorical shifts and 4 more where a switch seems inevitable.”

Beyond that, it’s July. If the numbers look like this in late September or October, we can start worrying.

UPDATE: A fifth point from a smart reader: “Sooner or later, he will have to declare whether he plans on voting for Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader.  That will move things.  Along those lines, he’ll have to take stands on the issues which will either disappoint Democrats or move Republican-leaners toward Rubio.”

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

Kendrick Meek Is Still Running, Right?



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Another poll puts Charlie Crist ahead in a three-way race for Senate from Florida, but I suspect Marco Rubio will catch up in this survey eventually, just as he caught up in Rasmussen’s. No, what’s jumping out at me now is the share that’s left for Democrat Kendrick Meek: 15 percent.

His share in the three preceding polls? 17 percent, 19 percent, and 18 percent. In this most recent poll, “the unaffiliated Crist is leading among Democratic voters, 38 percent to 33 percent.”

I tend to think some Florida Democrats will “come home” as the election approaches . . . Otherwise, this would be a strikingly bad performance for a major party in a swing state.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Floridians Digest the Idea of Independent Charlie Crist



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On May 5, Rasmussen gave us some results out of Florida that confounded the conventional wisdom: As an independent, Charlie Crist led the Senate race and seemed to be in healthy shape.

But today, Rasmussen finds Marco Rubio in the lead again, 39 percent to Crist’s 31 percent, with Democrat Kendrick Meek continuing to trail badly at 17 percent.

I think this suggests that we unhealthy political junkies process news at a different speed than normal, relatively apolitical voters. Many of us look at Crist’s departure from the GOP – often predicted in the preceding weeks, and often flatly denied by the candidate himself – as a self-immolating temper tantrum, a demonstration that hell hath no fury like an Oompa Loompa scorned. We may see his refusal to return donations from Republicans who feel betrayed as one step removed from theft. We may see Crist’s moves – from embracing Obama and the stimulus to trying to argue that he was the real fiscal conservative to suddenly doing the teachers’ unions’ bidding on a school-reform bill – as the unpredictable, zig-zagging political reckless driving of a lost and increasingly desperate tourist, whose Garmin refuses to reveal the path to an electoral majority.*

But I suspect a decent number of Floridians, who have already voted for Charlie Crist in quite a few elections before, heard that a familiar name was running as an independent and thought, “Oh, good! I like independence. Our system needs more independents.” It was only after a few weeks of digestion did they realize that this is still the same guy who’s underwhelming them as governor, who’s running on a platform of “I’ll be anything you want me to be as long as I get to win.”

* Why yes, I did have trouble getting to the airport this morning, why do you ask?

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Cloudy Outlook for Democrats in the Sunshine State



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If, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the Obama White House is chatting with Charlie Crist, I wonder A) how expected Democratic senatorial nominee Kendrick Meek feels about it and B) how African-American turnout is if real-estate mogul Jeff Greene beats Meek for the Democratic nomination.

And, of course, how all that impacts the down-ticket races. Note that Republican Bill McCollum still looks pretty healthy in the governor’s race. On my list of 99, four of the vulnerable Democrats were in Florida:

Suzanne Kosmas, Florida: The space coast is getting slammed by Obama’s NASA cuts, it’s an R+4 district, and Kosmas voted for the health-care bill.

Allen Boyd, Florida: The eastern part of Florida’s panhandle isn’t usually Democratic country (both McCain and Bush won easily), and Allen Boyd is one of those classic “How the heck is this guy representing this district?” incumbents. Eleven Republicans considered running against him this year; nine remain in the race, and Steve Southerland, co-owner and president of a chain of funeral homes, appears to be the most well-funded. Southerland is hitting Boyd hard on votes that cost the district jobs.

Ron Klein, Florida: This is a D+1 district, but you probably don’t want to stand in the way of Republican challenger Allen West.

Alan Grayson, Florida: This obnoxious, loudmouth, partisan Democrat represents a somewhat Republican district. Grayson won only 52 percent of the vote in 2008, even with the Obama wave carrying him. Grayson has almost unlimited funds, but a small army of Republican candidates are setting out to defeat him; the two most likely include popular former state senator Daniel Webster and current state representative Kurt Kelly.

Tags: Barack Obama , Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek

At the White House, Even Passion Is Negotiable



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From the Wall Street Journal:

White House officials have taken calls in recent days from at least three Democrats seeking to start a conversation about the candidacy of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. . . . Democrats came away from the conversations thinking that the White House might be open to discussing the level of passion that it would put behind Mr. Meek’s candidacy, according to people familiar with the conversations.

The “level of passion” is up for discussion?

Isn’t that another way of saying that the Obama administration isn’t all that passionate about the bid of Rep. Kendrick Meek?

Tags: Barack Obama , Kendrick Meek

Charlie Crist Really Is Leading in Florida, Huh.



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Yesterday I wondered if a Rasmussen poll in Florida’s Senate race showing Charlie Crist leading with 38 percent, Marco Rubio at 34 percent, and Kendrick Meek at 17 percent could be somehow off-kilter.

Now Mason-Dixon, one of the pollsters I trust most, offers similar numbers: Crist 38, Rubio 32, Meek 19.

As a Rubio fan, this isn’t what I want to see. But I can’t help but wonder if there’s a valid comparison to the other prominent NRSC endorsee who left the party, Arlen Specter. Specter led his Democratic primary by a wide margin for quite a while, while Joe Sestak kept his powder dry. Then Sestak started running ads, voters started paying more attention as the primary approached, and then POOF! Specter’s lead – driven, I suspect, by higher name identification – was gone.

By the way, remember when Democrats thought the big winner in Crist’s departure would be Meek?

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

Crist Ahead? Meek at 17? Scott Rasmussen, What Are You Telling Us?



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This result from Rasmussen surprises me on two levels:

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Florida Voters finds Crist earning 38% support to Republican Marco Rubio’s 34% and Democrat Kendrick Meek’s 17%.

One: Crist went up 16 percentage points from Rasmussen’s mid-March as an independent? Really? And Rubio lost 8 percentage points?

Two: Kendrick Meek is really only pulling 17 percent? He’s polled badly in the hypothetical three-way matchup before, but never this badly.

Put another way, Meek is only 17 points ahead of the Democrat running against South Dakota incumbent Republican John Thune. You know, State Senator Nobody from Nowhere who’s polling at zero.

We’ll have to see if other pollsters see what Rasmussen sees.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

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

Permit Me to Tweak Those Who Speak of Meek’s Peak



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Permit me to throw a bit of cold water on those who think Crist’s independent bid turns Democrat Kendrick Meek into the odds-on favorite: Here is a list of Meek’s percentage of the vote in six polls on this scenario since November: 31, 24, 27, 25, 24, 22. He has led none of them, he is in third place in four of them.

In other words, he needs to build on his current level of support. Crist’s independent bid splits the existing Republican vote, but there so far hasn’t been enough Meek backers to get him a win under either scenario.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Kendrick Meek , Marco Rubio

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