Kendrick Meek looked and sounded like a much stronger candidate for U.S. Senate when he came to visit the Broward Democratic Party this week. One of the criticisms of Meek as a candidate is that he has never been tested in a tough campaign, since he basically inherited his U.S. House seat from his mother. But billionaire carpetbagger Jeff Greene has done a lot to change that, as has the advent of Gov. Charlie Crist as a wildcard third-party candidate in the race.
Meek knows he has to fight now, and he is sounding more convincing when he says he can and will win. I’d seen him speak at a poorly attended rally in Plantation just a few weeks ago and was underwhelmed, so the contrast was striking. The Sun-Sentinel’s Anthony Mann heard the change in tone, too:
Meek told the Democrats that Greene’s advertising hasn’t won him the election.
“After $7 million of advertising that you’ve been watching over the last several week’s, my opponent’s negatives are higher than his positives,” Meek said. “We have not run a 15-second radio ad yet. And I’m still three points ahead.”
Meek arrived at the Democratic Party meeting from the airport. Earlier Tuesday he spoke to the Senate Democratic Caucus in Washington, D.C.
His 10 minutes of remarks were more animated than many of his speeches earlier in the campaign, and he got two standing ovations from the Democratic activists.
“I am the real Democrat in the race,” he said.
“Democrats, I need you right now. This state needs you right now. And regardless of the money that’s going to be involved in this campaign we have to show the country when you have four major candidates, including my opponent, and I’m the only one who hasn’t run as a Republican in the past, that’s a no brainer. That’s no brainer,” Meek said.
He was referring to Republican Marco Rubio, no party affiliation candidate Charlie Crist, and Greene, who ran for Congress as a Republican in California. Crist was a Republican until he left the party. (Kendrick Meek says he’ll have ads on television within days, possibly sooner)
Meek has also been doing some of the right things all along, such as using a petition drive to qualify for the ballot as a way of building grassroots support along the way. Assuming he wins the primary, he will fill face a tough challenge in the three-way race with Crist and Republican Marco Rubio. But he is looking more like he knows how to win it.