Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Meek holds own against Rubio in Senate race, polls show

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, above, trails Gov. Charlie Crist.

Associated Press (2009)

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, above, trails Gov. Charlie Crist.

For much of the past year, it has been widely assumed that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek would have a very tough time in a general election against either Marco Rubio or Charlie Crist.

Two recent polls, however, suggest the Miami representative could be mighty competitive against Rubio.

A Research 2000 poll for the liberal Daily Kos site released last week (margin of error plus or minus 4 percentage points) showed Meek with 40 percent support among likely voters and Rubio with 41 percent. In a matchup against Crist, Meek trailed 45 percent to 36 percent.

Among likely Republican voters, Rubio was crushing Crist 58 percent to 30 percent.

And if Crist ran as an independent, the poll showed him winning 29 percent support, compared to 27 percent for Meek and 32 percent for Rubio.

Another recent automated phone poll by Public Policy Polling survey found Meek trailing Rubio by 5 points and Crist by 13.

Add to the bill

Some curious charges showed up on the party credit card of then-Florida GOP executive director Delmar Johnson, including an Oct. 21 $359.20 charge for an airline ticket for Andrea Saul.

Saul, communications director for the Crist campaign, said she did not know why the supposedly neutral party paid for the ticket, and that the campaign paid the cost of the flight directly to American Express. She was working for Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, at the time but flew down on a Sunday to attend a Crist campaign meeting at the Hyatt in Orlando.

Crist has hammered Rubio for excessive spending of donor money on Rubio's party credit card, so it was striking to see some Johnson charges directed at Crist's family: $213.97 for flowers listed as for Emory Wood, Crist's brother-in-law, and $96.30 for Carole Crist's birthday.

"That sounds excessive," Crist said when asked about the flowers for his wife.

Who paid what

Also among the intriguing charges on the Florida GOP credit card wielded by Johnson was $748 for state Florida House Speaker-to-be Chris Dorworth at the Palazzo Las Vegas — and $1,132 in airfare — when Crist was there raising money for his Senate campaign. Then-state GOP chairman Jim Greer, a good friend of Dorworth's, also went to the Palazzo — his tab was $1,120.

"I was requested to attend a series of finance meetings in Las Vegas by the RPOF. I attended per their request," Dorworth explained in an e-mail.

Did he also attend Crist's fundraiser at the Palazzo? "I did stop in the governor's fundraiser, but to be clear, that fundraiser was not my reason for being out there."

Weird that when we asked about Greer traveling with Crist during that October fundraising trip out West, the party said at the time that the chairman was paying his own way.

Political Connections

Check out Democratic consultant Bernie Campbell of Tampa today on Bay News 9 at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Rubio to release tax returns

Rubio, whose personal finances and political spending has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, said he will release his tax returns before the August primary.

"Yeah, we will," he said, after addressing about 120 supporters in West Miami on Friday. "We're still going to complete 2009 and then at some point we'll do that, some time in early May."

Asked if he will amend his returns to reflect the $3,000 in additional income he received as a state lawmaker from double-billing the Republican Party and state taxpayers for eight plane fares from South Florida to Tallahassee, he said, "Our accountants are handling that."

Miami Herald staff writer Beth Reinhard contributed to this week's Buzz. Adam Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.


of the week

President Barack Obama: With U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, and Allen Boyd, D-Monticello, reversing their earlier opposition to the health care reform proposal, the president wound up winning every member of Florida's Democratic congressional delegation. We'll know better on Election Day whether Kosmas or Boyd should have been this week's loser.


of the week

Sen. Bill Nelson. Despite his efforts to spare about 800,000 Floridians from Medicare Advantage cuts by grandfathering them in, the negative perception of quasi-bribe special deals — this one dubbed Gator-aid — was too much to overcome.

Meek holds own against Rubio in Senate race, polls show 03/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 20, 2010 6:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. After offseason of work hard, play hard, DeSean Jackson ready to produce for Bucs


    TAMPA — There's no telling what DeSean Jackson will do once he gets a football in his hands. Perhaps that's why a camera crew followed his every move Wednesday while the Bucs' new $30 million receiver stood on a step of the hot tub that empties into a spacious, azure pool at his new, sprawling five-bedroom home in …

    DeSean Jackson jokes around with girlfriend Kayla Phillips at their Tampa home as a crew from HBO’s Hard Knocks documents their day.
  2. Trump announces $10 billion Foxconn plant in Wisconsin


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that electronics giant Foxconn will build a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin that's expected to initially create 3,000 jobs, the largest economic development project in state history.

    President Donald Trump embraces Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the East Room of the White House during an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn is going to build a plant in Wisconsin.
  3. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with key series at Yankees up first (w/ video)

    The Heater


    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Conservatives come to Sessions' defense amid Trump attacks


    WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans and influential conservatives rallied around Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday as President Donald Trump kept up his public pelting of the nation's top law enforcement officer and left his future in doubt.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions
  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here (w/ video)

    The Heater


    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, it better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher it can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]