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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Who says Kendrick Meek can't win?



Kendrick_meek_141795a In a quietly arranged phone call Wednesday night, about 80 black elected officials backing Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek got their marching orders.

"I told them not to buy into the illusion that Kendrick can't win," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who made his own historic bid for the U.S. Senate four decades ago. "I told them about the historic significance of having an African-American candidate win in the South and setting the stage for President (Barack) Obama's re-election in 2012. I told them to tell any candidate that comes through their area that they can't support them unless they are visibly supporting Meek."

On paper, the 44-year-old Meek appears to be a dream candidate for the Democratic Party: A loyal disciple in Congress and the Florida Legislature known for scuffling with former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. The first statewide candidate to qualify for the Florida ballot by gathering voter signatures, about 125,000 in all. The victorious underdog in last month's Democratic primary against a hard-charging billionaire.

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[Last modified: Thursday, October 7, 2010 5:31pm]


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