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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Maurice Ferre's election predictions

Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre says he has the U.S. Senate race on lock -- if he scores a fistful of newspaper endorsements, rallies Hispanic voters and then somehow beats Charlie Crist in the general election.

Ferre, who has raised barely enough campaign dollars to put down a deposit on a new car, quickly sized up his rivals during a St. Petersburg Times editorial board interview Thursday morning, despite opening his interview with, "I don't want to talk about my opponents."

Kendrick Meek? "He cannot win an election in the state of Florida... The state of Florida has a long history of electing middle-of-the-road Democrats."

Marco Rubio? "For sure, I can beat Marco Rubio. I have no doubts I can beat Marco Rubio."

Charlie Crist? "Charlie Crist is going to be tough."

He predicted billionaire Jeff Greene ("terrible speaker" Ferre gushed) would trump Meek because of money and that Crist would be the man to beat in the general election.

During the interview, Ferre portrayed himself as a Paul Krugman Democrat willing to raise the Social Security age and spend public dollars to create new jobs.

He boasted of his good reputation: "In the 12 years I was mayor there were no indictments."

He said he supported President Barack Obama's plan to begin withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan in the summer of 2011, but bashed the war.

"These are people who are really in medieval times," he said.

He conceded his would be a longshot win, but said he could get there if could pull together 350,000 votes.

"It's going to be a tight race, but you know what, I am going to be in there," he said. "Can I win? I don't know. I think I can get -- I am pretty sure I am going to get close to 300,000 votes. I am pretty sure of that. Can I get 350,000? We'll see. I am going to try."

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 10:46am]


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