Broward News

Florida's 2010 Races Taking Shape; Meek Looking Strong

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Kendrick Meek, of Miami,continues to tear up the fund-raising circuit -- an article in today's Roll Call says Meek will report $1.5 million in campaign dollars in the year's first quarter, which ended March 31. His primary competition for that nomination, Florida Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach, has been slowed by the legislative session. Additionally, Meek has enjoyed the rare privilege of fund-raising help from Ex-President Bill Clinton, whose appearance at one event accounted for $400,000.

That race is also narrowing on the Republican side, as U.S. Rep. Connie Mack withdrew his name from consideration. A Quinnipiac poll in February found that Mack was the contender that Floridians liked second to Gov. Charlie Crist, who has not officially declared his candidacy, though it's getting to where that's a mere formality.  In a letter quoted by the Associated Press, Mack told Crist: "I will be your strongest supporter and champion -- regardless of whether you seek reelection or election to the Senate." Former House Speaker Marco Rubio and Congressman Vern Buchanan, from Sarasota, are other potential Republican candidates, but if Crist goes for the job they won't challenge him.

With Crist expected to leave Tallahassee, the parties are lining for a clash in the 2010 Florida governor's race -- and it should be a doozy. A just-released SayfieReview poll found that it's almost a dead-heat between Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, the leading Republican, and Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the leading Democrat.

So chances are, Floridians will pick between Meek and Crist for U.S. Senate, while either Sink and McCollum will be the next governor.

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Thomas Francis