Meek’s attack ad hits … Charlie Crist?

posted at 3:17 pm on September 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

How sweet is this for Marco Rubio?  He can run his positive campaign ads and play statesman while Kendrick Meek and Charlie Crist fight over who’s the best Democrat … in an election cycle that looks to be the worst for Democrats in decades.  National Journal reports on the week-long radio ad buy in which Meek has to stake out his claim to his own party’s support in a three-way race:

In a sign that he needs to shore up his base, Dem Rep. Kendrick Meek launched a radio ad on Wednesday that attacks independent Gov. Charlie Crist. …

“Home is where the heart is,” the ads narrator says. “And for Charlie Crist, home is with the GOP.”

It then features Crist: “I’m a Jeb Bush Republican…I was impressed at Gov. Palin being picked…I watched her speech today. I was very impressed…John McCain was a great candidate, a dear friend…President Bush is a leader of courage and conviction.”

“Don’t be fooled,” the narrator concludes. “If Charlie Crist gets to Washington, his heart will lead him right back where he belongs.”

To see why this is such great news for Rubio, just read former Obama campaigner Steve Schale’s analysis of Crist’s path to victory, courtesy of John McCormack.  Titled “Charlie Crist Can’t Win,” Schale looks at the numbers Crist needs to get in a 3-way race, and sees almost no possibility for him:

For Crist to win the United States Senate race, he would need a formula that looked something like this:

33% of the Democratic vote
33% of the Republican vote
50% of the NPA vote.

This formula would get him a vote total of 36-37%, a likely win scenario in a highly competitive three way race, where all three candidates are scoring in the thirties.

Here is one problem:  Rubio is limiting him to 20% of the Republican vote.  If Rubio keeps him at 20% of the GOP vote, Crist needs to get 45% of the Democratic vote in order to win, and according to the latest PPP poll, Crist is only at 38% today with Democrats.

With a traditional Democrat like Meek in the race, 38% looks like a high-water mark for Crist.  Rubio has already devalued Crist among Republican voters so well that Crist had to run away from the GOP primary, so attempting to make it up among Republican voters is impossible.  If Crist could get more than half of independents (Schale uses No Party Affiliation, which is more accurate), he might have a chance — but Rubio has a significant number of those voters, too.  And Crist is running in the wrong direction in this cycle anyway, towards Democrats and Democratic positions.  That’s why Meek has to attack Crist to have a shot at getting left-leaning NPA voters and keep his base intact.

Meanwhile, that’s not the only internecine warfare occurring on the Left.  Meek’s primary opponent plans to sue two newspapers for libel over its coverage of Jeff Greene’s past, especially rumors of wild parties aboard yachts and illegal drug use:

Jeff Greene, a Florida real estate developer who lost one of the year’s most bitter and closely watched primary elections, is preparing to sue The St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald for libel, claiming that articles they published cost him his bid for the United States Senate. …

Dogged by rumors about wild parties aboard his 145-foot yacht and about fraudulent real estate deals, Mr. Greene will seek at least $500 million in damages in part, he said, to teach the news media a lesson. “I want to send a message to every newspaper in the country: Do your homework,” he said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “I deserve to have the record corrected, and they deserve to be punished.”

He has hired L. Lin Wood, a prominent libel lawyer who has won settlements for other public figures who claimed they were defamed by the news media, including Richard A. Jewell, the security guard cleared as a suspect in the 1996 Olympics bombing in Atlanta. Mr. Wood said he expected to file a formal complaint in state court in Miami-Dade County on Wednesday.

At issue are two news articles written by St. Petersburg Times reporters that were printed in both The Times and The Herald, and a Times editorial urging a federal investigation into Mr. Greene’s business activities.

So let’s get this straight.  Rubio’s two opponents will spend at least the next week arguing which of them is farthest from the political mainstream, and another Democrat will start making headlines about how unfair and biased newspapers are towards anyone who challenges Democratic Party orthodoxy.  Next time I’m at a casino, I’m going to bring Marco Rubio along with me.


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