Kendrick Meek, Jeff Greene Brawl While Crist Locks Up Support From Dems (VIDEO)

07/27/2010 05:38 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and billionaire rival Jeff Greene engage in a brutal primary fight for Florida's Democratic Senate nomination, the real winner in the heated match-up may prove to be Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist.

A recent editorial from the St. Petersburg Times offers this harsh assessment of Meek-Greene primary match-up:

The reality is that outside South Florida, neither candidate is a familiar name as they court a disenchanted electorate. Democrats ultimately will have to decide between a candidate whose blemishes are clear and one whose warts may not all be evident by Election Day.

And it's not hard to see why voters may be turned off by the campaigns of these relatively unknown candidates.

In launching his first ad of the election season, Meek unloaded a tough attack in his attempt to expose "the real Jeff Grene."

"Moved to Florida two years ago. Became a billionaire on Wall Street betting middle-class families would lose their homes. Helped fuel the economic meltdown. Warren Buffett called Greene's scheme 'financial weapons of mass destruction,'" says a narrator in the 30-second spot invoking a nightclub feel.

Meanwhile, Greene hasn't shied away from getting down and dirty in firing-off attacks of his own. The super-wealthy self-funding candidate rolled out a campaign ad this week going as far to drag Meek's mother, former U.S. Congresswoman Carrie Meek, into the crossfire.

"How dare you attack the character of my mother," Meek told Greene when he fired a similar line of attack at debate last month. "How dare you, Jeff Greene.''

So while a war of words continues to rage on the Democratic side of the Florida Senate race, it appears that Crist is quietly locking up support from strategists and donors on the left side of the aisle. The St. Petersburg Times reports:

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.

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