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Kendrick Meek Campaign Suddenly Saddled With Electability Questions

The St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald teamed up for an article in yesterday's editions that voiced concerns among Democrats that their leading senatorial candidate, Congressman Kendrick Meek, isn't "high-profile" enough to beat Charlie Crist. It's a strange moment to raise that question -- it appears to have been prompted by Maurice Ferre's entry into the race. The former Miami mayor wouldn't have declared, the logic goes, if he wasn't sure that Meek was vulnerable.

Let's consider another possibility: the 74-year-old Ferre was just bored out of his skull, having the same political mid-life crisis of so many other elderly candidates with regrets about not achieving a higher office. For another, what exactly does a high-profile Democrat look like in Florida? There isn't one.

Or at least none that can rival Charlie Crist in terms of name recognition and centrist politics. All of the other South Florida Democrats are either too liberal or too unknown to be competitive in a statewide race. Ferre told the Capital News Service that Dan Gelber -- who dropped his Senate bid months ago and is now running for Attorney General -- would have beaten Meek in the Democratic primary. That's a remark that's hyperbolic and absurd even by campaign standards. Gelber was getting buried by Meek on the fund-raising trail. Meek's raised so much money, another Democrat would have to be crazy to declare. Maybe that explains Ferre's entry.

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Thomas Francis

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