While Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist have snagged most of the headlines in Florida’s Senate race, Democrat Kendrick Meek has mostly been ignored — even by his own party. With two Republicans splitting the vote, a Democrat should have sailed into the lead … or at least into second place. Instead, Meek consistently comes in third in the three-man race in polling, and key Democratic strategists have begun to give up on Meek:
Top Democratic strategists are abandoning their party’s frontrunner in the Florida Senate race in favor of Independent Charlie Crist, who bolted the Republican party over the state party’s rightward lurch toward the Tea Party.
SKDKnickerbocker, a leading Democratic political strategy and communications firm, has agreed to work on Crist’s up-hill campaign as an independent for the U.S. Senate.
First, the party didn’t “lurch to the right.” Crist lurched towards Barack Obama when the President was popular, backing Obama’s profligate spending agenda. Second, the party continued to back Crist, with the NRSC issuing its endorsement of Crist as soon as he entered the race and keeping their support in place until the moment Crist abandoned the GOP. Crist lost the voters, which is an entirely different thing than the party.
Returning to the story, it may be that Obama is lurching back towards Crist after all, at least by proxy:
Making it all the more ominous for Meek is that SKDKnickerbocker is helmed by Anita Dunn, who most recently served as senior advisor to President Obama and is one of the administration’s most valued political operators outside the White House. …
But said another Democrat: “They never would have signed on to the Crist campaign unless it was okay at the highest levels.”
Three months ago, Politico reported that Dunn was part of the re-election campaign team that Obama had already assembled after just 13 months in his first term. She’s already at the highest levels of the administration, despite leaving over her public praise of Chairman Mao. If Dunn has SKDK running the Crist campaign, that sends a big signal to Meek — who backed Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries — that he’s on his own.
Unfortunately, that’s not going to help Crist much. SKDK did help Joe Lieberman get elected as an independent in Connecticut in 2006, but Marco Rubio isn’t Ned Lamont, and Crist isn’t going to split the Republican vote with Rubio. He will split the Democrat vote with Meek, and split the indies with Rubio. That puts him in position for a strong second-place finish at best … which is exactly where he is at the moment.