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Jeff Greene's campaign explains his Republican past

Billionaire investor Jeff Greene entered Florida's Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on Friday, telling supporters in a web video that he's a Democrat with "lifelong Democratic principles."

But as Greg Sargent points out, Greene briefly and unsuccessfully ran for Congress in the 1980s as a Republican. Is there a conflict here? Not at all, said Greene consultant Paul Blank.

"He's a Democrat with Democratic values," said Blank, who is handling media questions as the campaign launches. "After Harvard Business School, he did run for Congress in California as a Republican -- but obviously, since then he has been a Democrat, a supporter of the Florida Democratic Party, a supporter of Barack Obama."

Blank couldn't speak to the issues Greene ran on in the 1980s. "He ran because, frankly, he was challenging the status quo," said Blank. "He's very rooted in Democratic values. I believe it was a Republican incumbent that he challenged. Make no mistake about it, he's a Democrat. He grew up on Democratic principles and values. There was one brief period right after Harvard Business School that he did something else. But he's a Democrat and he has been supportive of the party."

UPDATE: Blank called back to clarify that Greene did not challenge a Republican incumbent -- he ran for an open seat in California, after redistricting.

By David Weigel  |  April 30, 2010; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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