Florida Senate race continues to evolve


The open seat for the US Senate created when incumbent Mel Martinez (R-FL) exited early and George LeMieux (R-FL) took over as a temporary place-holder looked like it might be a relatively sleepy contest at one point, despite the state’s status as a perennial battlefield. But it has been anything but sleepy.

At one time, it seemed that the seat was Republican Gov. Charlie Crist’s for the taking. But he was attacked from the right by Marco Rubio, an attack which not only had legs, but may well be forcing Crist all the way out of the Republican Party.

The state’s primary elections aren’t until 8/24/10, but according to reports, Crist must decide by the end of April if he’s going to get on the ballot for November as an independent. Polls suggest he may have a chance to win it from that position in a three-way contest.

Meanwhile on the Democratic side, the field has seemingly be left to US Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL) as other potential candidates declined to run. But that may be changing. According to the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, the independently-wealthy Jeff Greene is contemplating jumping into the race – a move which has the potential to vastly increase the size of the Democrat’s campaign warchest. According to Cillizza, word behind the scenes is that Meek is running a professional campaign, but may be short on fund-raising, and current polling shows him running third in a three-way contest with Rubio running as a Republican and Crist as an independent.

RBR-TVBR observation: If Crist goes indy, that will likely diminish the primary spending on the Republican side. But if Greene jumps in, the Democrats should make up for it. And a three way in November should do nothing except sweeten the political category pot for broadcasters.