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Black lawmakers, stunned by Scott, want minorities to get to work for governor

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 by Dara Kam

After four years of close relations with his predecessor Charlie Crist, most black lawmakers believe they’ll have a much cooler relationship with Gov. Rick Scott.

“I’m not optimistic at all,” said Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale, whose district includes a portion of Palm Beach County.

But don’t look for any sit-ins, yet.

After two months on the job, Gov. Rick Scott has yet to appoint a black or Hispanic to a high-level post.

And at a luncheon for black lawmakers at the mansion yesterday, he further alienated some of the members by suggesting he grew up like them – in public housing and with a parent who had a sixth-grade education.

He also told them he wants their help hiring minorities although he also said he insisted he believe in giving preferences to applicants based on race or ethnicity.

Today, black lawmakers set up an e-mail address to help Scott round out his hires.

Blacks and Hispanics interested in getting to work for Scott should send their applications to, caucus leader Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, said at a press conference today. Minority business owners seeking contracts with the state should also send their information, Siplin advised.

The lawmakers want Scott to reconsider his decision to whack money for historically black private colleges – except the financially ailing Edward Waters College near Jacksonville – from his budget.

Siplin said they’ll meet again with Scott and forward the qualified applicants to his office.

Siplin said Scott was simply sharing his background with the black caucus by mentioning the public housing and parents’ lack of education.

“Quite frankly, all black folks are not poor,” Siplin said at a press conference Wednesday.

Smith, whose mother has a master’s degree, said he was shocked at Scott’s comments at yesterday’s lunch and considered walking out.

“He just assumed because he was sitting with a bunch of black people that we had all grown up in public housing,” Smith said.

Scott is “tremendously disconnected” from the realities of being black or Hispanic in Florida, Smith said.

“He doesn’t see the need for diversity or inclusion,” Smith said. “Any diversity that happens (in his administration) is going to happen by happenstance.”

Gov. Jeb Bush started off by alienating blacks when he did away with minority preferences in university admission and state contracting.

Bush’s actions prompted two black lawmakers – then-Sen. Kendrick Meek and Sen. Tony Hill, then a House member – to stage a sit-in in his office.

Scott heckler voting for Crist

Thursday, October 28th, 2010 by Dara Kam

A heckler interrupted Rick Scott’s stump speech in Melbourne this morning for the first time since the GOP gubernatorial candidate kicked off a week-long sweep of the state leading up to Tuesday’s election.

Joseph Concannon didn’t have far to go to voice his dissatisfaction with Scott. Concannon works at Buz’s Automotive repair shop next door to That Little Restaurant where Scott’s caravan made a brief stop.

Scott ignored the interruption as he introduced one of his two daughters to a small gathering of supporters.

“Does she know you’re a crook? We do,” Concannon yelled.

Concannon said he was referring to the $1.7 billion fine Columbia/HCA paid to the federal government for Medicare and Medicaid fraud shortly after Scott was forced out as CEO of the hospital chain he founded.

Concannon was on a cell phone talking to his wife, Stephanie Hosala, a member of the local Democratic Executive Committee. He said she didn’t ask him to come to Scott’s event but he went over to voice his opinion when he saw Scott’s bus arrive.

Concannon conferred with his wife when asked who he backs in the U.S. Senate race.

“Charlie Crist,” he answered.

When asked why he wasn’t voting for U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democrat vying with independent Crist for his party’s votes, Concannon repeated the answer his spouse apparently gave him.

“Meek is so far behind he doesn’t have a chance,” the Palm Bay resident said.

PBS/League of Women voters scraps debates because GOP candidates are no-shows

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 by Dara Kam

The League of Women Voters and PBS canceled debates between the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates because GOP candidates Marco Rubio and Rick Scott refused to participate.

The League’s president Deidre MacNab said the debate, scheduled for Oct. 14, would have been the only one to reach all television viewers throughout the state.

The League could not get Gov. Charlie Crist, the independent U.S. Senate candidate, to confirm to appear either, MacNab said, meaning only U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democrat in the three-way U.S. Senate race, had agreed to show up.


Crist: A vote for Meek is a vote for Rubio

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist believes he’s the only candidate who can “stop the Tea Party mess” and defeat Marco Rubio in the three-way U.S. Senate race and that a vote for the Democrat – U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek – equates to a vote for Rubio.

“It sure looks like it. Yeah. I mean, you know, regrettably, that would be the case. I think Democrats are reaching that conclusion all across Florida. They tell me that,” the Republican-turned-independent told reporters when asked if a vote for Meek would be the same as a vote for Tea Party favorite Rubio.

Crist denied that his campaign has been pressuring Meek, lagging in the polls behind frontrunner Rubio and Crist, to drop out of the race.

“Number one, there’s no pressure. People should do what they feel is right. But I’m clear about this. I’m the only candidate who can win in November and stop the Tea Party and the mess that Mr. Rubio would bring to Washington,” Crist said.

Crist said it’s up to Meek whether to drop out.

Crist: I’m the only candidate who’ll stand up for Social Security

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Who’s a flip-flopper now?

After weeks of taking heat from GOP opponent Marco Rubio (and Democrat candidate U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek) in his quest for the U.S. Senate, independent Gov. Charlie Crist said Rubio can’t seem to make up his mind where he stands on the issue.

Crist said the former House Speaker changed his stand “three or four times in the past four months” about privatizing Social Security.

“It’s hard to keep up. But obviously he’s all over the map as it relates to Social Security,” Crist told reporters this afternoon. “The seniors of our state deserve to have somebody who will protect and will preserve Social Security. I’m the only candidate in the race who is committed to doing so.”


Meek calls Sachs defection to Crist ‘strange’

Monday, August 30th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Just two weeks after publicly pumping up U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary race against Jeff Greene, state senator-to-be Maria Sachs yesterday pulled a switch and endorsed Meek’s general election rival Gov. Charlie Crist.

Meek said Sachs, a Delray Beach lawyer, signed an endorsement pledge for him in December and called the switcheroo “strange” especially because Palm Beach County Democrats virtually anointed her to fill U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch’s seat when he left the state senate to go to Washington.

“She spoke very passionately two weeks ago of her support of my candidacy, felt that I should be the next U.S. Senator of Florida,” Meek said at a roundtable with reporters this morning.


Crist: AFL-CIO endorsement ‘would have been nice’ but…

Monday, May 24th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist, now an independent U.S. Senate candidate, said he doesn’t think not getting the AFL-CIO’s endorsement will hurt him, but “it would have been nice.”

The AFL-CIO, the state’s largest labor union, endorsed U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Democrat, this weekend although Florida’s teachers’ union broke with tradition and co-endorsed Meek and Crist.

Big labor’s snub won’t hobble his campaign, Crist said this morning.

“I don’t think at all. It would have been nice, obviously, that’s why I went there. But I was awfully proud and pleased to get the teachers’ support. It’s all about getting the support of the people,” Crist said, repeating his ubiquitous “people” mantra.

Crist, who wooed the unions at their annual meeting this weekend, said he’d welcome the support of other groups, including environmentalists such as the Sierra Club, of which he said he is a member.

“You know my style. I’ll take help from anyone who’s willing to give it and cares about Florida like we do. That’s what it’s about,” Crist said.

Meek calls U.S. Senate petition drive ‘victory before the victory’

Monday, March 29th, 2010 by Dara Kam

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek‘s campaign today filed 145,000 signatures gathered in his year-long petition drive for the U.S. Senate race in November.

Meek, a Miami Democrat, needs about 112,000 of those signatures validated to make it onto the November ballot.

Florida law allows candidates to qualify by petition in lieu of paying $10,000 filing fee to get on the ballot.

If the signatures meet muster, Meek, a former state legislator, would be the first statewide candidate to qualify by petition.

Meek’s candidacy has been eclipsed by the GOP primary battle between Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who sparred in a nationally televised debate for the first time on FoxNews yesterday.


NY Times spotlights Meek in FL U.S. Senate campaign

Friday, February 26th, 2010 by Dara Kam

It’s no secret that the Florida U.S. Senate race has captured the attention of the national media and is a crucial race for both parties.

But much of the focus has been on the GOP primary featuring Gov. Charlie Crist, who is leaving office after only one term to pursue the post, and former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the first Cuban-American speaker of the Florida House whose somber face ran on the cover of The New York Times Sunday magazine not long ago, prompting Crist’s campaign to dub him “New York Times Cover Boy.”

While Rubio and Crist slug it out (and it’s getting uglier every day), U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democrat who will likely face off against one of them in November, has been busily stumping around the state gathering petition signatures in the hopes of becoming the first U.S. Senate candidate from Florida ever to qualify by petition.

Read today’s New York Times article on Meek here.

Mavericky Meek: Crist not fit to lead

Friday, January 8th, 2010 by Dara Kam

meekU.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek held a roundtable with the Capitol press corps this morning and came out swinging at Gov. Charlie Crist.

Meek, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate, slammed Crist, a Republican who’s losing traction in a GOP primary against former House Speaker Marco Rubio, for his turn-around on abortion and his failed health care program that has been ignored by uninsured Floridians.

“Overall I think the governor’s a very nice person,” Meek, a former state legislator who is in his fourth term in Congress, began. “I don’t think he’s prepared to lead this state in the United States Senate. One, he doesn’t like to make a decision. Two, he’s very vague. And three, I believe he’s more politician than leader.”


New poll: Crist, Rubio in dead heat

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 by Dara Kam

Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio are in a dead heat in the GOP race for the U.S. Senate, according to a poll released this morning.

The Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found Crist and Rubio in a 43-43 percent tie among likely Republican primary voters.

Crist’s lead over Rubio dropped 10 percent in the same poll since August. And the governor’s popularity is at an all-time low, with just 19 percent of respondents having a “very favorable” opinion of him.

Earlier this year, Rubio, the first Cuban-American House Speaker, was considered a long-shot in the race.

But conservative support – including the endorsement of The Club for Growth and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina – has rallied Rubio’s campaign and drawn national attention to the Florida primary, viewed as a test of the rising “Tea Party” movement and characterizing the fight for the control of the party between moderates and conservatives.

Crist and other GOP leaders have angered Republican conservative base voters who typically show up at the polls to vote in primaries.

This summer, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer – hand-picked by Crist – snubbed Rubio by endorsing Crist and discouraging primaries that he said weaken the party’s ability to win in the general election.

Crist alienated conservatives by applauding President Barack Obama’s stimulus package symbolized by the now-infamous “man-hug” with the Democratic president.

And he raised eyebrows in August when he appointed his longtime advisor and right-hand-man George LeMieux to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who retired before his term ended.

The winner of next year’s primary is likely to face off against Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is gathering petition signatures to get onto the ballot.

What they’re saying about Obama’s Afghanistan speech….

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 by George Bennett

afghanPresident Obama tonight ordered 30,000 more U.S. troops to be deployed in Afghanistan and pledged to begin withdrawing forces in 18 months.

The president delivered a prime-time speech from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Some Florida reactions after the jump…..


Obama lands in Miami to raise money for Dem Senate, House candidates

Monday, October 26th, 2009 by George Bennett

MIAMI — Air Force One just landed here as President Obama prepares to attend a fund-raiser in Miami Beach for Democratic Senate and House candidates.

Obama stepped off the plane about 5:30 p.m. with Sen. Bill Nelson and greeted a passel of Democratic elected officials on the tarmac at Miami International Airport: Chief Financial Officer and gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink; U.S. Rep. and Democratic Senate frontrunner Kendrick Meek of Miami; U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston; Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach.

Obama is to attend a fund-raiser at the Fountainebleu Hotel, then go to a solar energy plant in DeSoto County on Tuesday.

Meek adds endorsements from Sink, former quasi-rival Brown

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by George Bennett



U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D- Miami, today picked up Senate endorsements from Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown, D-Jacksonville, who had been exploring her own run for Senate.

Sink, a 2010 candidate for governor, is one of two Dems to hold statewide office in Florida. The other — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson — hasn’t formally endorsed Meek, but was listed as a host for a Meek fund-raiser in Washington this month that was headlined by former President Bill Clinton.

Meek is the heavy favorite to win the Democratic Senate nomination, but former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre announced this month that he will also run as a Democrat.

One day, two polls, two views of potential Rubio-Meek Senate matchup

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by George Bennett

As noted Wednesday morning, Quinnipiac University’s latest Florida poll finds former House Speaker Marco Rubio narrowing the gap from 29 points in August to 15 points now in his Republican U.S. Senate primary race against Gov. Charlie Crist.

That poll found Crist with a comfortable lead in a hypothetical Senate matchup against Democratic frontrunner Kendrick Meek, but found Meek with a narrow lead in a Meek-Rubio matchup.

A Rasmussen poll of Florida voters released later in the day finds Crist with 14 point lead over Rubio in a GOP primary, down from 22 points in August.

Rasmussen has Crist leading Meek by 12 points (compared to 20 points in the Quinnipiac poll). And while Quinnipiac gives Meek a 36-to-32 percent lead over Rubio, Rasmussen finds Rubio beating Meek, 46-to-31 percent.

Some initial reactions to Obama’s health care speech from Florida officials

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 by George Bennett

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta: “Tonight I hoped to hear that the President has been listening to the American people over the past month. From the town hall meetings I hosted in August it is clear to me that Americans have had enough of the rapid expansion of government especially when it comes to an important issue such as health care. We need a plan that does not punish small businesses and tax individuals. Any type of government takeover of our nation’s health care system is not the answer and is unacceptable.”

Sen. Bill Nelson (D)

Sen. Bill Nelson (D)

Sen. Bill Nelson (D): (Reacting to pre-speech excerpts released by the White House) “I’m glad the president is proposing insurance exchanges that will help the nearly one-in-four Floridians who don’t have or cannot get affordable health insurance. Americans who are satisfied with their coverage should be able to keep what they have. And we ought to make coverage affordable for those who don’t have it.”

Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton

Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton

Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton:“Like all Americans, I was glad to hear President Obama lay out a path ahead on health care reform. After listening carefully to South Floridians on all sides of this debate, it is clear that we all agree that we must make real changes to improve our health care system, increase competition and lower costs…. The most important thing is that we have a final product that lowers costs, improves the quality of health care and ensures that Americans cannot be denied coverage because they get sick.”

Klein on the public option: “I thought he made a very good case. The reason I support a public option in some form is competition.”

Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton

Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton

Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton: “The President is absolutely correct that all Americans must have security and stability in their health insurance, and I was pleased to hear him reiterate his support for a public insurance option. I enthusiastically agree with the priorities that President Obama outlined tonight, which include providing affordable and accessible coverage for all Americans, delivering real competition in the market to drive down costs, and helping seniors afford their prescription drugs. Congress is on the cusp of delivering historic change, and tonight President Obama provided the vision and initiative for us to get this done.”

Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami

Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami

Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate:
“Tonight’s speech was a game-changer. President Obama brought clarity to the health care debate. His objective is straightforward: offering stability and security in our health insurance system to Floridians with insurance and to Floridians who lack insurance…With over 80 percent agreement among various committee proposals, it is now time to pull together all components into a single piece of legislation. With skyrocketing health care costs bankrupting American families and businesses, doing nothing is not an option. In Florida alone, over 3,500 people lose their health coverage each week. We cannot afford to sit by and do nothing.”

What they’re saying about LeMieux and Crist

Friday, August 28th, 2009 by Dara Kam



U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez:“I congratulate George LeMieux for being appointed by the governor to fill the remainder of my term. George is bright, capable, and an accomplished
administrator. My staff and I stand ready to ensure a smooth transition.”



Former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is running against Crist in the GOP primary to replace Martinez: “This is a disappointing pick for Florida. George LeMieux is a talented political operative and the governor’s best friend, but that doesn’t make him the right choice to represent Florida in the Senate. Governor Crist had a wealth of consistent and principled conservative candidates to choose from, all of whom would have been a reliable check and balance on the excesses of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.”

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate: “Governor Crist was afforded a high responsibility with this appointment. Instead, he treated this process like a mockery, politicizing his selection by flying around the state at taxpayers’ expense, touring major media markets and drawing this selection out. Well respected Floridians with a wealth of elected service experience from Congressman Clay Shaw to Mayor John Delaney to various Hispanic leaders were in a position to hit the ground running if appointed, but that possibility is now nonexistent.”

jimgreerRepublican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer: “Once again, Charlie Crist has demonstrated his commitment to serving Floridians, by appointing George LeMieux who is well qualified, a dedicated public servant, conservative Republican and an excellent choice!”

Progress Florida executive director Mark Ferrulo: “It’s shocking. We wonder why Gov. Crist didn’t just appoint himself if he was going to pick his former chief of staff and campaign ‘maestro’. “The so-called ‘People’s Governor’ has made clear through this appointment that he places personal loyalty and his own political benefit above the interests of Floridians.”



Attorney General Bill McCollum, a Republican running to replace Crist as governor: “I congratulate George LeMieux on his appointment as Florida’s U.S. Senator. I have known George for a long time, both as a friend and as a former Deputy Attorney General, a capacity in which he served this office
well. I wish him the best in serving the people of Florida in the U.S. Senate.”

Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Hari Sevugan: “With Florida’s economy in shambles, Charlie Crist could have selected a Senator who would be able to hit the ground running in Washington to tackle the problems that face Floridians. In appointing a political crony as a placeholder until he can run for Senate himself, Charlie Crist is using the Governorship to advance his own political ambitions rather than advancing the lives of the Floridians he was elected to serve.”



U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat from Boca Raton: “In short, George LeMieux will make an excellent Senator. I wish him great success and look forward to working with him in any way I can.”

Republican operative and political consultant Mac Stipanovich: “He was not the obvious choice.”



Marion Hammer, former NRA president who now lobbies for the same organization and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida: “The NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida are very pleased with Governor Crist’s appointment of George LeMieux as Florida’s new junior U.S. Senator. George is rated ‘A’ by the NRA and will be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment in the U.S. Senate. Gun owners can count on George LeMieux to fight to protect freedom and the Second Amendment.”

Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff: “This is just one more example of the Republican leadership in Tallahassee putting cronyism and corruption above the people of our state. From Ray Sansom, to former lobbyist Bill McCollum, to George LeMieux, it is clear that we must stand together and pledge to end the Republican culture of cronyism and corruption in Tallahassee.”



Former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw, who was a finalist on Crist’s list of possible Martinez replacements and for whom LeMieux once worked as an intern: “George is a very, very capable guy and I’m sure he’ll do a good job. He’s a quick study, he’s articulate, he’s very close to the governor. I think it’s a good choice.”



State Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, active with LeMieux in Broward County GOP politics since the mid-1990s: “He’s a smart guy, politically savvy, a hard worker. There’s nothing negative to say about George….He’s certainly smart enough to wade through the issues.”



Kirk Fordham, head of the Everglades Foundation: “George LeMieux is the right pick for Florida. He has a deep understanding of a wide range of regional issues that are unique to Florida. When it comes to protecting the people’s water supply and restoring the Everglades, we couldn’t ask for a better ally than we’ll have in Senator George LeMieux.”

Politicians, activists react to Martinez’s resignation

Friday, August 7th, 2009 by Palm Beach Post Staff

People in Florida and national politics reacted today to reports of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez’s impending resignation:

“Mel Martinez’s life is a testament to the boundless promise that exists in America, where a young Cuban exile can come to the United States without his parents and rise to become a Cabinet secretary and U.S. senator. As he looks ahead towards the next phase of his life, I wish him and his family all the best.
“As Governor Crist considers who he will appoint as Florida’s next U.S. senator, I urge him to take great care in his selection. Florida deserves an interim senator who will go to Washington and serve as a true check on President Obama’s push for more wasteful government spending, government-run health care and cap-and-trade. The last thing Florida needs is a U.S. senator that will stand with President Obama instead of challenging the wrong direction he is leading our country and offering constructive conservative solutions moving forward.”
— Republican former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a 2010 candidate for Martinez’s seat

“Senator Mel Martinez made history when he was elected to the U.S. Senate and I wish him only the best in his future endeavors. It is fitting that one of Senator Martinezs final votes was to confirm a history-making Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor and I am so pleased that he cast this vote one that I wholeheartedly support.”
— Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a 2010 candidate for Martinez’s seat

“Mel has been a good Senate colleague of mine, as well as a personal friend. He also has been a dedicated public servant for Florida. I look forward to our continued friendship — and to having the same bipartisan working relationship with his successor.”
— U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida

“I have a great deal of respect for my good friend Mel Martinez. I know this decision was a difficult one for him, but I think he is doing what he believes is right for him and his family. We will immediately begin the process of selecting an appropriate replacement to serve the remainder of Senator Martinez’s term and I look forward to making an announcement in the coming weeks.”
— Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican candidate for Martinez’s U.S. Senate seat

First U.S. Senate debate in Palm Beach on Friday?

Monday, July 6th, 2009 by Dara Kam

crist-rubioFormer House Speaker and GOP U.S. Senate wannabe Marco Rubio will address reporters and editors in Palm Beach on Friday. Also invited but not yet confirmed is Gov. Charlie Crist, who’s the leading Republican candidate to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

MeekU.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democratic contender for the high-profile post who’s stumped through the Florida Panhandle all weekend, is also a maybe at the annual Florida Press Association/Florida Society of Newspaper Editors convention.

Meek’s got to be in D.C. to vote in Congress but might get there at the tail-end of the 2:30-4 p.m. Friday powwow, his campaign spokesman Adam Sharon said.

Meek makes first Palm Beach County campaign appearance Saturday

Thursday, June 18th, 2009 by George Bennett

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, makes his first appearance in Palm Beach County as a Senate candidate at 11:45 a.m. Saturday. West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel is slated to appear with Meek at the courtyard outside the new City Hall and library downtown. It’s part of Meek’s effort to collect signatures to get on the 2010 ballot.



Meek is the best-known Democrat running for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. State Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, recently dropped out of the Senate race to run for attorney general, but U.S. Rep. Corinne Brown, D-Jacksonville, has been exploring a Senate run.

Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio are running on the Republican side.

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