Monday, September 14, 2009

Crist vulnerable? Here comes Kendrick Meek

His 43rd birthday, according to Wikipedia, was on Sept. 6, but no matter, Kendrick Meek was still partying Sunday afternoon with a low-threshold fundraiser in Coral Gables. The U.S. Representative from District 17 in Miami-Dade, who’s running for US Senate in 2010, only wanted $20.10 from attendees, and there was a nice crowd of over 100 at the Biltmore Hotel to meet the candidate and donate.

The Sunday Miami Herald enticed your blogger out for his third time around with Senate candidate Meek. Interesting story by Adam Smith of the St. Pete Times pointing out the feet of clay worn with the empty suit of Charlie Crist, the supposedly leading Republican contender for the US Senate.

Charlie Crist could be vulnerable in race for U.S. Senate - South Florida -

The story covers the usual ground with Crist -- that he's popular (despite his record) and that he runs for one office after another (despite not finishing the job). But then it seems that Adam Smith and a lot of Republicans are catching on that Crist, for all his money, is not a slam-dunk for the Republican nomination.

My favorite quote from the article:

But talk to veteran Republican activists across Florida, from local organizers to elite operatives to big-money bundlers, and there's a sense Crist could be in trouble. Probably not, but just maybe.

Meek was introduced at the fundraiser by Ana Navarro, who described herself as the "token Republican" on the Meek campaign. She declared forcefully that Crist will be beaten. I guess she was saying that Meek will beat Crist next year, though Crist's more immediate challenge comes from Marco Rubio, the former speaker of the Florida House, who's well off to the right of Crist and contending for the Republican nomination.

This is what raised my morale -- the prospect of a nasty battle between Crist and Rubio. Crist is the governor who has backed out of the trials of managing Florida to run for the US Senate, and has already fouled the nest by appointing his crony George LeMieux to complete the Senate term so ignominiously uncompleted by Mel Martinez. What a bunch of quitters! And the other main Republican contender, Rubio, will throw red ideological meat to the Republican base and alienate them from Crist. We Democrats will look like the soul of reason in comparison by the time people start voting in 2010.

So it was a pleasure to have a piece of birthday cake and dream of one more Democrat in the US Senate after the next election. And not a Blue Dog.

For the record, I should point out that the Florida Division of Elections has six active Democratic candidates for the US Senate and nine Republicans, not to forget four independents. Also, there are seven Democrats registered as candidates to succeed Meek in his reliably Democratic Miami District 17. So we have our own chances to dissolve into nasty primary fights. Let us hope that we got infighting out of our system with the Republican-plotted mess around the early presidential primary date in 2008.

UPDATE: And here's Politico's wrapup of how Crist is in trouble from both sides now. Thanks to the DSCC for pointing this out to me.

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