POLITICS
06/29/2010 09:52 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Kendrick Meek: Florida Senate Candidate May Be Running With Dwindling Support From Democrats

Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is running for U.S. Senate in Florida, may be pushing his electoral pursuit with dwindling support from operatives in his own party.

Randy Schultz at the Palm Beach Post notes this week that with Florida's August 24 primary election just weeks away, Meek has yet to secure support from Democratic operatives, who he arguably should have courted months ago:

Rep. Meek isn't running a sharp campaign because he's never had to. In 2002, his mother, Carrie Meek, announced two weeks before the qualifying deadline that she would not seek reelection to the Miami congressional seat she had held for 10 years. She asked that people vote for her son. They did, and they have.

In four election cycles, Rep. Meek has faced one challenger - in a primary. The candidate got 10 percent. In every general election, Rep. Meek has been unopposed. Running statewide in Florida, you have to fight for every county. Rep. Meek hasn't even had to fight for his own district.

Earlier in the race, Meek had appeared to be a competitive contender in a tight three-way match up against Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio; however, with Crist's recent shift leftward on a host of political issues and billionaire Democrat Jeff Greene's decision to jump into the race, Meek's chances of winning seem to have dimmed.

Meek also appears to be making his bid with perhaps less-than-expected support from the White House and other big Democratic names. The Hill reports:

The White House has said Meek is their candidate in Florida, but there have been questions about how much support the administration will offer the congressman, who's facing an increasingly tough August 24 primary against a wealthy, self-funding challenger.

Biden and former President Bill Clinton have hosted fundraisers for Meek but Obama hasn't campaigned with him -- at least not yet.

Clinton as well as former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean have both penned fundraising e-mails to Meek supporters on the Florida hopeful's behalf, but the effectiveness of their efforts to deter some backers on the left from lining-up behind Crist remains in question.

The St. Petersburg Times reports on the Florida Governor's success in raking in campaign cash from the left side of the political spectrum:

By bolting from the Republican Party, Gov. Charlie Crist has one place left to raise big money in his race for the U.S. Senate: Democrats.

A governor who once courted conservatives by calling himself a "Jeb Bush Republican" is getting help from liberal trial lawyers, union activists and even elected Democrats, who are shunning their party's Senate hopefuls, wealthy Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami.

Last month, Florida Republican Congressman Adam Putnam may have been right when he suggested that Crist is "a more powerful draw for Democratic votes" than Meek. And now, the Florida Democrat also has a bitter primary match-up against Greene on his hands.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has come out and stated its unwavering support for Meek's candidacy over that of Greene; however, when DSCC chair Sen. Bob Menendez was recently asked about the Crist factor, the New Jersey Democrat appeared to all but avoid discussing the matter.

The latest polling data to come out on the Florida Senate race shows Crist expanding his lead in the state's general election. So while Meek continues to battle for the Democratic nomination against Greene, he would also have to contend with a viable threat from the Florida Governor who appears to be proving successful in locking-up support from the Democratic base.

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