Having spoke with several prominent activists, fundraisers and elected officials (including one major statewide candidate who predicts Jeff Greene will beat Kendrick Meek), a circular logic is developing among the Democratic establishment.
It’s all based on the recent polling data showing a) Charlie Crist leading Marco Rubio by eleven points; b) Jeff Greene and Kendrick Meek being in a statistical dead-head for the Democratic nomination; and c) Charlie Crist leading both Rubio and either Greene or Meek because he is running so strong among moderate Democrats.
As long as the polling data remains like that, the new thinking among some Democrats — a line of thinking which is gaining traction among many consultants and strategists) is that Democrats should vote for Kendrick Meek in the primary in order to keep Jeff Greene from winning. With Meek in the general, instead of Greene, so the logic goes, Charlie Crist has a better shot of beating Marco Rubio.
Mind you Marco Rubio’s candidacy would not be where it is if it weren’t for how weak a candidate Kendrick Meek is. Blasphemy you say? You may agree that Rubio’s fortunes rose in direct inverse proportion to Charlie Crist’s, but what does Rubio’s rise have to do with Meek’s weaknesses.
Well, put it this way, if Dan Gelber had remained in the US Senate race, could Charlie Crist really have run as an Independent? Would Crist be polling at 42% of the vote with Gelber in the mix? Would the GOP have embraced Rubio had they had to worry about running against Gelber, as opposed to Meek, in the fall. More than one Rubio Republican has told me that Meek’s presence allowed conservatives to roll the dice on Rubio, thinking that if Rubio beat Crist in the GOP primary, he’d easily beat Meek in the general.
But back to the beginning of the Democrats’ vicious circle…
There is considerable concern among moderate Democrats and Independents that if Jeff Greene is to win the Democratic nomination, Greene, who would likely spend tens of millions of dollars, will actually do better against Crist and Rubio than Meek would. Some argue that Greene would do better with I-4 and north Florida Democrats (read: white voters) than Meek, siphoning votes away from Crist, thereby giving the election to Rubio.
Game it out:
Right now, the current polling has Crist at 42%, Rubio at 31% and Meek at 14%. That’s a pretty nice cushion for Crist. Even if he gets none of the remaining undecided voters, so long as they split evenly among Rubio and Meek, Crist wins.
But if Greene gets the nomination and spends the $45-$50 million dollars my sources say he has budgeted for a general election run, I think he’d actually outperform Meek by five or six points, all of which come at the expense of Crist.
My prediction is that the first post-primary poll would show the race Crist 37%, Rubio at 32% and Greene at 20%. And every point from there that Greene gains, he takes away from Crist, who will not have the money to respond to Rubio’s barrage. Nor will Crist have any vetoes left to build support around, and the oil spill — God willing — will be off the front pages.
That’s why during the hundreds of conversations that took place across the state yesterday when Democrats and liberals came out for Hands Across the Sand, there was considerable discussion about this scenario:
Vote for Kendrick Meek
Jeff Greene doesn’t win
Democrats can vote for Charlie Crist
Crist can beat Rubio.
At least that’s what the plan is today…