The Corner

Re: Wall Street Democrat

Kevin, another Democrat who won’t welcome the entry of billionaire Jeff Greene into the Florida Senate race is Kendrick Meek, who probably figured he had enough trouble trying to overcome the fact that the (quasi-)Republican governor of his state is more popular with voters in his party than he is.

Geraghty did a good job painting a picture of Greene’s likely impact on the race in this morning’s Jolt:

This profile of Greene makes his life story appear to be a Horatio Alger story told by David Lynch. There are 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? Hosts 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 Hiaasen 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 and 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.

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