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Billionaire Challenging Meek In Dem Primary Has Republican Past

By now you've heard that flamboyant real estate billionaire Jeff Greene is shaking up the already-wild Florida Senate contest by launching a Dem primary challenge to Kendrick Meek, who is the Dem establishment's choice to make the race.

Greene has a couple of liabilities: He made his fortune by betting against subprime loans, and Mike Tyson was the best man at his wedding. But Greene's camp is vowing to spend "whatever it takes" to win, making him a potentially serious threat.

Now add one more liability for a Dem primary: He has a Republican past. From a Miami Herald profile of Green in December of 2009 (via Nexis):

After getting his Harvard degree, he decided California would be a great place for real estate. There, he bought apartment buildings, small office buildings, shopping centers, then became a developer.
He also dabbled in politics. After growing up a rock-solid Democrat, the Harvard Business School had made him a middle-of-the-road Republican in the 1980s. He ran in a Congressional primary in the San Fernando Valley and lost. He soon returned to his Democratic roots and became a major donor to party candidates.

Greene made no mention of his Republican background in his announcement video, and in it, he trumpeted his Dem credentials:

Make no mistake about it, I am a Democrat. My parents raised me on Democratic principles and values.

Greene will probably explain away his Republican past as proof that he's an independent politician. And it's unclear how much of a liability this will be for him. But it suggests there may be plenty more in his past we don't know that will be coming out sooner rather than later. More when I learn it.

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By Greg Sargent  |  April 30, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Senate Republicans  
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