Make us your home page
Instagram

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.

Winner

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.

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

Loading...
  1. Federal study says humans harmed by dispersant used during Deepwater Horizon

    Water

    A first-of-its-kind scientific study has determined that the dispersant BP sprayed at the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon rig in 2010 harmed human health.

  2. Across Tampa Bay, local commercial banks and credit unions appear healthy

    Banking

    In another sign of economic vitality, Florida's home-grown banking industry demonstrated strong bench strength in the latest quarterly analysis by Bauer Financial. The vast majority of commercial banks with headquarters in Florida received five "stars" from Bauer, which is the highest ranking of health on its 0-to-5 …

    Several years ago, First Home Bank in Seminole faced regulators breathing down its neck for inaedquate controls and financial weakness. Under CEO 
Anthony N. Leo, the bank has rebounded. It received a top-rated "5" star rating from Bauer Financial in the latest quarter. Most area banks are doing better these days. [SCOTT KEELER      |     TIMES]
  3. Two linemen lose their wedding rings in Tampa Bay. So far one has been found and returned.

    Human Interest

    Two linemen who spent days restoring power in the Tampa Bay area had the same unfortunate mishap: They lost their wedding rings.

    Facebook helped Michael White find the wedding ring he lost while helping restore power in Tampa Bay.
  4. Need is now for new mental health center at Bay Pines, veterans say

    Veterans

    ST. PETERSBURG — Veteran Ellsworth "Tony" Williams says the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System's new mental health center will help fill an immediate need.

    The new mental health center at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System stands four stories tall and was built at a cost of $92 million. It will centralize services that before were scattered. [HOWARD ALTMAN   |   Staff]
  5. GOP health bill all but dead; McCain again deals the blow

    National

    WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain declared his opposition Friday to the GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace "Obamacare," dealing a likely death blow to the legislation and, perhaps, to the Republican Party's years of vows to kill the program.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington in July.  McCain says he won't vote for the Republican bill repealing the Obama health care law. His statement likely deals a fatal blow to the last-gasp GOP measure in a Senate showdown expected next week. [Associated Press]