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Jeff Greene surges in FL-Senate, Kendrick Meek strikes back

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) is swinging hard at his rival for the Florida Senate nod, investor Jeff Greene (D), after a new poll released this morning showed the longtime frontrunner now in a dead heat with his upstart billionaire opponent.

In an appearance on today's ABC/Washington Post "Top Line" show, Meek called Greene a "billionaire that showed up in Florida in 2008 and only voted four times in this life."

Meek also took aim at Greene's personal wealth, sizing up the primary as a race between one person with "$3,500 in the bank" and another who is a "billionaire that made his money off of uncovered credit default swaps betting against Floridians to fail as it relates to their home mortgages."

Greene, in a recent interview with the Fix, cast his life story as his having "lived the American dream" and insisted that he could relate to the concerns of the average person far better than someone, like Meek, who was currently in office.

"This is a clear choice between three career politicians who have failed and one outsider businessman who has succeeded," said Greene, referring to Meek, Gov. Charlie Crist (I) and former state House Speaker Marco Rubio (R).

A new Quinnipiac poll out today suggests Greene is making up considerable ground on Meek; Greene took 29 percent to 27 percent for Meek.

Greene, who has spent approximately $4 million on ads introducing himself to the state's voters to date, has pledged to spend $40 million in the primary although he insisted in an interview that he had "no budget", adding: "I think my message is going to get out and people are going to respond."

Meek is now fighting a two-front war -- with Greene in the primary and with Crist, who, following his party switch in late April, has worked to court Florida Democrats.

In the Q poll Meek was winning 44 percent of Democrats while Crist took 37 percent, a major change from a May survey when the Democratic Congressman held a 28 point edge.

Meek shrugged off Crist's recent gains among Democratic voters following his departure from the GOP primary race.

"I can tell you this: After the primary, they will know who the Democratic candidate is," Meek said, attributing Crist's bounce in the polls to "months and months and months of him and Marco Rubio going back and forth."

Greene is not the only Florida billionaire moving up in the polls: businessman Rick Scott has now surged to a 44 percent to 31 percent lead over state Attorney General Bill McCollum in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Scott, the onetime chief of the Columbia/HCA hospital system who has become a leading opponent of the federal health care overhaul, has poured more than $12 million into his bid as a "conservative outsider" in less than two months.

The rise of Greene and Scott speak to two realities: one new and one old.

First, the old. In large states with lots of media market where communicating is difficult, television is king. You can only meet so many Florida voters -- even in a primary -- and so the way you make an impact is through ads. And, when one candidate can write a check (or multiple checks) for millions of dollars while the his opponent has to scrape up donations in $2,000 or chunks, it is a major advantage.

The new(er) reality is that voters are really, really, really -- we can't emphasize that enough -- sick of politicians who they believe have repeatedly failed them. In an anti-incumbent cycle like this one, people like Greene and Scott who have no voting record or even a set of past issue positions to defend have a far greater chance of succeeding.

It's worth noting that both men have plenty of vulnerabilities that can and will be exposed by their opponents before the August primaries. Greene made hundreds of millions by shorting the housing market while Columbia/HCA weathered a massive fraud scandal that led the company to being fined $1.7 billion.

But, money talks in Florida. The question is: How loudly?

With Felicia Sonmez

By The Fix  |  June 10, 2010; 2:50 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  | Tags: Florida Senate  
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Comments

I still think Kendrick Meek is likely to win this primary, but noone can doubt the millions of Greene. Scott is pushing hard, but McCollum has such name ID in the state I just can't see ScotT no matter how much he spends, winning this primary. I really believe that Crist has a great shot to win this senate seat. He may well be the favorite even as an Independent. I like Rubio and think he has a great shot, but Crist is also in a great position to win. Whomever wins the R nomination, which McCollum is the favorite, is the likely next Governor of Florida.

Posted by: reason5 | June 11, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Brigade has a good point: Alvin Greene provides a counterweight to Paul and Angle in the Out There Candidate Derby. Unless he develops some heretofore unknown campaign skills, he's a punch line for Republicans who want to draw attention away from their own outliers.

R's can't possibly be worried about a D beating DeMint in SC. At the moment, R's sabotaging a D senatorial canadidate in SC because they see him as a threat is a bit like Honda bugging Ford for the secrets of the Edsel.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 11, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Jeff Green, my vote is not for sale. Stop flooding the mailbox with junk mail. Don't care whether you mother supports your candidacy or not, so why tell she does.

Green will be a big help to Crist.

Posted by: bigbe | June 11, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Carly Fiorini has Fierce Hair... coupled with her fox-like face and aggressive talks she's got quite a presence. She's instantly identifiable, like JP Morgan, Blagojevich, Eartha Kit or King Kong.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 11, 2010 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Brigade


I think Jerry Brown is going to win. In a strange sort of twisted way, Jerry Brown has been the voice of sanity and logic.


Jerry Brown seems like the solid candidate in the chaos of California.


Hard to believe - maybe it is the nostalglia for the 70s - who knows - the desire for a simpler time -

Carly Fiorina blew it yesterday with her hair comments.


Jay Leno was making fun of Fiorina tonight - and that is pretty much the end of someone if you make Jay Leno's monologue with a caddy comment.

It was bad enough that Fiorina was talking about Barbara Boxer's hair - but her hair isn't that bad - Barbara Boxer looks good.

It is Carly Fiorina who looks like some ghnome from the Hobbit.

So Fiorina is just out - she would do everyone a favor if she just dropped out right now.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 11, 2010 1:40 AM | Report abuse

If you say so, dude. I don't follow the logic, but whatever.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 10, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, I would vote for him over many other Dems in office now.

Posted by: GConely | June 10, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I wonder which is greater. The Republicans' interest in Alvin Greene or the Democrats' lack of interest in him. It's Jim Demint. It's not like Dems are sitting around saying "if only Alvin Greene wasn't nominated. We could beat the guy!"

Posted by: DDAWD | June 10, 2010 7:26 PM
-------

Oh, but the Dems are definitely interested. They want this guy GONE, like yesterday. How can they run around the country talking about Ron Paul when this is their South Carolina candidate?

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I wonder which is greater. The Republicans' interest in Alvin Greene or the Democrats' lack of interest in him. It's Jim Demint. It's not like Dems are sitting around saying "if only Alvin Greene wasn't nominated. We could beat the guy!"

Posted by: DDAWD | June 10, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Where's Broadwayjoe? Is he supporting Alvin Greene? First Dale Robertson, and now, Alvin Greene?
You Ought to Be With Me, Call Me, Let's Stay Together.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Brown has already been defined. He's Moonbeam. If California likes where it's liberal legacy has taken it, then shoot the works.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 7:14 PM
-----------------------------
Exactly. He's OUR Moonbeam. Brown is well regarded, well respected, and more than ever, well loved. And, that's not just my opinion. He's ahead in the polls.

We already suckered for the "blow up the boxes" guy, who was going to bring his business experience to solve California's problems. Whitman is just Schwarzenegger-lite, and not nearly as engaging.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Noacoler wrote,
"Looking more and more like Crist will caucus with the Democrats"

-------

Do you ever post anything that isn't just made up out of thin air?

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Brown will have a chance to define her. He's already started.


Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 5:25 PM
-------

Brown has already been defined. He's Moonbeam. If California likes where it's liberal legacy has taken it, then shoot the works.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't laugh too hard at the Dems at this point, Charlie. If Jeff Greene's campaign runs over Meek and gathers any significant momentum he could run over Crist and Rubio, too.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 10, 2010 4:52 PM
------

I'm laughing at them. Talk about whistling past the graveyard. I'll lay odds this guy's got more skeletons in his closet than you could find in a graveyard.

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Outside of right wing lunatic fringe land, the Teabaggers sound nuts to the American people.

==

An impression buttressed by its accuracy

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 4:11 PM
-------

Hmmm. Crist. Rubio. Meek.
Gosh, it looks like the teabagger beats the D-bagger again!

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Rubio lost his mojo when Crist went Indy.


The problem hardcore Teabagger candidates like Rubio are going to have is that they've boxed themselves in with only appealing to the hardecore Republican base nuts (Teabaggers).


Outside of right wing lunatic fringe land, the Teabaggers sound nuts to the American people.

Posted by: DrainYou | June 10, 2010 3:41 PM
-----

LOL. I see the two Republican candidates are doing okay in Florida. Uh, how's the Dem holding up? In fact, who IS the Dem?

Posted by: Brigade | June 10, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


.

I am totally behind Alvin Greene - I hope he wins - I hope the People come out for him - and back him strongly.


AND let anyone who has not EVER looked at a dirty picture on the internet CAST the first stone at Alvin Greene.

Alvin Greene would be a fantastic US Senator - We need more men like him to represent "the every man" -


Alvin Greene deserves it.


Besides, he needs a job. If he wins, he will have a job in January.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


.

I am totally behind Alvin Greene - I hope he wins - I hope the People come out for him - and back him strongly.


AND let anyone who has not EVER looked at a dirty picture on the internet CAST the first stone at Alvin Greene.

Alvin Greene would be a fantastic US Senator - We need more men like him to represent "the every man" -


Alvin Greene deserves it.


Besides, he needs a job. If he wins, he will have a job in January.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/06/imagine_a_world_in_which_reces.html

Ezra Klein on how the uninsured rate hasn't changed in Massachusetts. It's increased in the rest of the country due to the recession and the fact that losing jobs=losing insurance. In Massachusetts, thanks to their universal health care plan, that hasn't been the case. If the Affordable Health care Act had been in place before the start of this recession, likely the same would be true in the country overall.

Furthermore, the ACA does more in terms of cost controls than the Mass. law.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 10, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

There's a libertarian running in the Florida Senate race? How come we haven't heard a word about him? Doesn't matter, those yahoos will never get to 3%.

Looking more and more like Crist will caucus with the Democrats, as the teabaggers cost the GOP yet another seat. By all means, keep puffing the teabaggers.

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Looks like an overabundance of Ped and drivl has run everybody off again.

Posted by: Moonbat | June 10, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


.


I am totally behind Alvin Greene - I hope he wins - I hope the People come out for him - and back him strongly.

AND let anyone who has not EVER looked at a dirty picture on the internet CAST the first stone at Alvin Greene.


Alvin Greene would be a fantastic US Senator - We need more men like him to represent "the every man" -

Alvin Greene deserves it.

Besides, he needs a job. If he wins, he will have a job in January.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Looks like an overabundance of Ped and drivl has run everybody off again.

Posted by: Moonbat | June 10, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse


Maggie meyers


sorry you are wrong again

I used to be Dorchester and Congress - which is the corner in Boston where the original Tea Party took place.


HA !

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Arguing over which repub is going to stomp the lib. Going to be a lot of that.

Obungler dithers on. Everyone knows now.

Posted by: Moonbat | June 10, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of buying elections, Meg Whitman may have easily disposed of Steve Poisner, in a state who doesn't much care what happens in the Republican field. The turnout was the lowest since 1914, at 25%. So much for Republican energy.

Jerry Brown has challenged her to a number of debates. Whitman's strategy during the primary has been to avoid interviews, but those days are over. She will have to stop ducking interviews and compete with Brown, who is a formidable opponent, and who leads her in the polls.

Since Whitman is somewhat of a blank slate, or an erasable slate (she was against the AZ undoc law before she was for it), Brown will have a chance to define her. He's already started.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 10, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

A veil has dropped from my eyes!

charlietuna = 37thand uh-oh.

It was the busted caps key that gave them away.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 10, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't laugh too hard at the Dems at this point, Charlie. If Jeff Greene's campaign runs over Meek and gathers any significant momentum he could run over Crist and Rubio, too.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 10, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Self-funding should be illegal." Quoth the Raven.

You'll have to take that one up with the Supreme Court. What's interesting is that self-funding is legal, but spouse funding is illegal. Hence, Kerry having to mortgage his house back in '04, even though he's married to a billionaire. Or the Enid Greene Waldholtz scandal. Hubby claimed he was wealthy, but the money in fact came from her parents.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 10, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Self-funding should be illegal. (If it's illegal for Jeff Greene to donate $40 million to Meek, it should be illegal for him to donate it to his own campaign.) I hope that Meek takes Greene's ascent as a wake-up call and starts actively campaigning for this seat, because he's done a terrible job so far.

Posted by: Blarg | June 10, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

DEMOCRATS ARE EATING THEIR OWN.

THROW ANOTHER DEMOCRAT UNDER THE BUS.

LMAO.

Posted by: charlietuna666 | June 10, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE

GO ALVIN GREENE

GO ALVIN GREENE

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Jeff Greene has a reasonable answer to how he got his money. He should just point out that he was part of the rotten financial system, but when he realized the housing market was going to collapse he did what any smart investor should have done: he cashed out. If he subsequently goes on record supporting most of the more draconian regulations currently under consideration, he can come across as a reformed "gambler" who is better qualified than anyone to fix the financial system for regular voters.

Would it be true? That's open to debate. But the idea of a guy reforming and turning from the Dark Side (the financial industry) to become a champion of the Light Side (regular Americans cheated by the Masters of the Universe) is a powerful meme. A good campaign team (which he can afford) could make that work.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 10, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

For much more on-the-ground coverage of Greene vs. Meek, please visit saintpetersblog.com.

Posted by: saintpetersblog | June 10, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

It's also interesting that McCollum is facing a challenge on his right flank from Scott. McCollum is hardly a Crist-style moderate Republican. But Scott has apparently calculated that anyone in the mainstrean political establishment could be vulnerable in the current environment and he might as well strike while the iron is hot.

Unlike Jeff Greene, who seems to be running for Senate because he's bored and wants a challenge, Scott is on a mission: he's loaded for bear (and elephant) and looking to take charge.

Of the two types, hobbyist or crusader, the crusader is the more alarming. People who take up politics as a hobby, even as Senators, are usually at least somewhat interested in exploring the issues of the day. People on crusades, on the other hand, already feel they know it all and are typically quite uninterested in anything other than their own opinion.

Florida is getting more interesting by the day.

Posted by: Gallenod | June 10, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I trust Greene has been vetted and his source of income identified.

Posted by: imaginemore | June 10, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I trust Greene has been vetter and his source of income identified.

Posted by: imaginemore | June 10, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Outside of right wing lunatic fringe land, the Teabaggers sound nuts to the American people.

==

An impression buttressed by its accuracy

Posted by: Noacoler | June 10, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Self-funders seem to be a mixed bag. You get people like Whitman and Greene who were very successful in their business areas and you get people like Fiorina who clawed their way to the top of the earnings pile but were subsequently proofs of the Peter Principle.

And politically, they are ciphers. They have campaign positions but no voting records.

The most potnetially disrupting thing about self-funders is that it's really hard to "buy" them with campaign donations. They simply don't need the money. If, for example, Whitman becomes governor of California, will she run it like a successful business leader or an ideologue? Despite her primary rhetoric, she would likely revert to a more business-like approach.

Greene will sweep Meek aside. The question is whether or not Florida voters will take him seriously as an alternative to Crist.

If he campaigns well, I'm thinking yes.


Posted by: Gallenod | June 10, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Gail Collins waxes wise in today’s Times on the very topic of self-funding millionaires. I hope Florida Democrats realize that it does matter where your money comes froom or we'll have Joe Francis running in some state that forgot to block felons from public office.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/10/opinion/10collins.html?hp

“We have been entertaining ourselves with theories about how this election year is going to be all about voter anger. Or Washington insiders. Or health care. Or TARP. But, really, it’s going to be about money. Gobs of cash falling on campaigns like tar balls on a beach.”

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 10, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Rubio lost his mojo when Crist went Indy.


The problem hardcore Teabagger candidates like Rubio are going to have is that they've boxed themselves in with only appealing to the hardecore Republican base nuts (Teabaggers).


Outside of right wing lunatic fringe land, the Teabaggers sound nuts to the American people.

Posted by: DrainYou | June 10, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The fact that no one is even responding to this article shows how disinterested people are as regards Kendrick Meek. He seems like a decent guy, but not that interesting. This primary could help him draw contrasts with his opponent, but, it could also sink an already sinking ship.

There is a lot of hype this week over Blanche Lincoln being a big winner this week, when in fact, after 12 years in office as US Senator, in addition to her time in the US House of Reps, after all of this, she gets 52% against someone that no one really seems to like. Halter is less popular than she is and still got 48% of the vote. She is not looking good for reelection this Fall.

Posted by: gckarcher | June 10, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Greene's swift kick in the backside will wake Meek up.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 10, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

If only squids could be trained to talk, you could name one Comrade Obama and teach it to intone, "Let me be clear" before it lets loose with a cloud of ink. But there is one thing Chairman Zero has made perfectly lucid: where he falls in the worldwide struggle between liberty and tyranny. His support for the failed communist coup in our democratic ally Honduras is one example. Firmly siding with the latter in the conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror state is another. Next time a "Freedom Flotilla" sails toward Gaza to supply bloodthirsty terrorists, the ships will fly American flags and be loaded to the gunwales with our money:

President Obama urged the Israeli government to loosen its blockade of Gaza on Wednesday, as the United States continued to scramble to find a way out of the stalemate in the Middle East and address the outcry over Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last week.
Mr. Obama, meeting with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House, also promised a $400 million aid package for the West Bank and Gaza, though only about $70 million represented a new commitment.
What the heck, we don't need the money. Even a year and half into Hopey Change, lots of us still have jobs.

The details of how the aid would be used in Gaza remained unclear. Nor was it immediately clear how Mr. Abbas, who has authority in the West Bank but not in Gaza, would be able to administer it.
That's because Gaza is administrated by Hamas, one of the world's most infamous Islamic terror outfits. Excuse me, I meant to say, "among the most oppressed victims of political, economic, and social forces compelled by root causes to become orchestrators of man-caused disasters."

Hamas doesn't just kill Israelis, by the way. But then, any enemy of America and Americans has a friend in our current government.

Posted by: Moonbat | June 10, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Mr. Meek, but the fact that Anita Dunn has signed on as a consultant for Gov Crist's campaign (as an independent) means the White House believes Mr. Crist offers the best chance to beat Marco Rubio.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will probably receive little support from the Democratic Party.

Posted by: Azarkhan | June 10, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

For months conservatives have been telling
us how much they deplored Bailouts,
APPARENTLY EXCEPT FOR BP:

"In response to a question from TPMDC, House Minority Leader John Boehner backed Tom Donohue, President of the Chamber of Commerce, in saying taxpayers should help pick up the tab" huh????????????????????????????

"I think the people responsible in the oil spill--BP and the federal government--should take full responsibility for what's happening there," Boehner said at his weekly press conference this morning.


Posted by: leichtman1 | June 10, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Is this why Alvin Greene had so much name recognition?


Is Jeff Greene advertising in a media market that goes into South Carolina?

This whole thing is hilarious.

GO ALVIN GREENE

GO ALVIN GREENE

GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE


GO ALVIN GREENE

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | June 10, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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