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Rubio, Meek Win Senate Primaries in Florida

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Almost a year ago, on September 27, 2009, I wrote an article discussing what I then described as Marco Rubio’s “quixotic” quest for the Senate seat abandoned by Mel Martinez here in Florida..

Quixotic it may have been back then, but last night’s primary results would seem to indicate that Rubio is now not only a serious contender, but that he may well be THE serious contender in the race. According to The Miami Herald, Marco Rubio dominated the Republican primary, crushing his Republican opponents, William Escoffery III and William “Billy” Kogut with an impressive 85% of the votes cast in the race.

Accepting the nomination, Rubio said, “I’m not running to be the opposition. I’m not running to be simply against people. I believe there is a better way to do things, and so do the majority of Floridians and Americans.”

On the other side of the aisle, the winner of the Democratic primary, Kendrick Meek, easily defeated his Democratic opponent, Jeff Greene, with 57% of the Democratic vote. When the polls closed and the results were announced, Greene declared he would endorse Meek, saying in his concession speech “While this effort may have fallen short, we must work hard to ensure that the failed policies that will be pursued by the two Republicans in this race . . . cannot come back to power in Washington.”

In his acceptance speech, Meek noted, “There were those that counted us out, but you counted us in.” Meek also thanked Democratic voters from all walks of life for their support, including, “…school bus drivers that I greeted this morning at 4:30 a.m. that know what it means to have to live paycheck to paycheck.”

However, there is a fly in both these candidates’ soup: sitting Florida Republican governor Charlie Crist, running as an independent, did not, under Florida law, participate in the primaries, but is, according to a survey released by Public Policy Polling just before the primary, a strong contender for the Martinez seat, to the extent that, going into the primary, he enjoyed more Democratic support than Meek. This is likely to change, however, as news of Meek’s primary win is analyzed by Democratic voters. Meek is now the first black Senate nominee ever in Florida history, and the only major black Senate candidate nationally this year. If elected, he will be the Senate’s only black member.

Regardless of its eventual outcome, the three-way Florida Senate race promises to be an interesting contest.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • Clavos

    Hell, we in South Florida pride ourselves on not really being American (the Conchs in the Keys want to secede, and here in Miami-Dade we don’t even speak English unless forced to). In an area where even our traffic laws are treated as traffic suggestions, of course our election process is different.

  • “We can declare election winners now before actually holding the election.”

    Well, FL has established precedent

  • Arch Conservative

    Senator Rubio.

    Sounds good to me and I’m not even from Florida.

  • Ah, I see. We can declare election winners now before actually holding the election. That’s convenient.

    Is it Rubio’s anti-teaching-of-evolution stance that is helping him make great strides with educators? And his homophobic record should help a lot in Ft. Lauderdale, among other cities. Florida is not all retirees and rednecks.

    I hope the Democrats are smart enough to reveal Rubio as the unpleasant extremist he is. They may be too timid, in which case you may be right about the results.

    But no one has voted yet!

  • Quondam Amicus

    Rubio is indeed the winner, and the best hope for Florida by a long shot…

    Meek’s attempt to pander to working class people is a stretch even for him, given that his constituency, is almost exclusively “vote-by-color”, currently polling at an extremely weak 17%. No, Mr. Meek, the voters won’t get fooled again, and you shall not inherit the Senate.

    Charlie Crist will also fall one letter (or perhaps one digit) shy of Divinity. His self-absorbed personality, combined with his self-assumed God-given right to power and OPM (other people’s money) will be thwarted, ostensibly for hugging Mr. Meek’s President, when it actuality, the public now understands the difference between a RINO and a Pander Bear. Besides, it’s not a good year to have (I) after your name on the ballot, be it Incumbent or Independent.

    This leaves Rubio, who’s success is within reach, but not yet gift-wrapped. Strong backing from the Cuban community is a good start. He’s also making great strides with educators, and veterans, and he comes off as “such a nice young man” to the growing legions of elderly citizens. Throw in the support of all the doctors and nurses who drive them to the polls, and like a used DEPENDS, he might just pull it off.

  • If you ever decide to stop posting meaningless name-calling rants instead of reasoned arguments, that’s when I’ll start listening to your pronouncements about “seriousness.”

  • Arch Conservative

    Rubio is going to be your new Senator not Meeks or Crist handy.

    As for charges of racism, you may not have leveled them but many of your leftist brethren have at many who’ve criticized Obama’s policies. In fact they’ve do so so much that accusation has all but lost it’s seriousness.

  • Crist is indeed a bit of a weasel [and a closet case too, a not unrelated fact], but if I had to choose, I’d prefer him in the Senate to Rubio, even though I’d rather look at Rubio.

    [And, Arch, I don’t like responding to your ranting, but I’ll make an exception: it’s Rubio’s ideas I object to, not his ethnicity. Maybe some people have engaged in throwing charges of racism around recklessly. I have not.

    On the other hand, whoever made that Tea Party sign, “There’s an African Lion in the National Zoo and a Lyin’ African in the White House,” that person I’ll call a racist. To their face. Gladly. Also anyone who falsely claims the sign is about “ideas.” Or anyone who thinks it’s just dandy political humor.]

    If I lived in Florida, I would be voting for Meek. And this race is wide open. I wouldn’t be shocked if all three get Nov. vote percentages in the 30s.

    Could someone win with 34% of the vote, or would there be a runoff?

  • zingzing

    shit, they voted him in on ideas that were more to the left than he’s delivered. (no real surprise there, as this isn’t a dictatorship.) so really, he’s not as radical as a majority of the voting public wants him to be.

    how can you say he’s a radical when these facts are true?

    because it’s ludicrous rhetoric, clavos.

  • zingzing

    if obama is radical, so is most of the nation. how radical.

  • Clavos

    Calling Obama a “radical” seems ludicrous to me, pure rhetoric

    Fine, handy, my opinion is ludicrous and rhetoric in your opinion.

    It’s a wash…

    …In my opinion.

  • Arch Conservative

    A post that has something to do with Charlie Christ. I have to get in on that!

    Whatever one thinks of Rubio has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Charlie Crist is a pure shape shifting political animal with no core beliefs or morals who’d pimp out his own mother if he thought it would get him a few extra votes. The guy’s proven time and time again that the only thing he gives a damn about is himself and how anyone could actually take him seriously is beyond me.

    I happen to like Rubio and am glad to see he’s again leading Crist in the polls. It’s too late for Crist now. The Dem primary has already been held so he can’t switch to the Dem party when Rubio’s lead in the polls begins to grow.

    Oh and handy since it was all the rage among the left to immediately label anyone that opposed Obama as racist and you now oppose Rubio, who is hispanic, I’m sure you won’t mind being called a racist 24-7…right?

  • I’d put it this way…to most on the liberal/left, Obama is seen as a moderate. Maybe too moderate for the Daily Kos crowd.

    I doubt that most dedicated conservatives look at Rubio and see a moderate. Dedicated conservatives these days, in fact, fiercely denounce moderation.

    So by that yardstick your comparison doesn’t work.

    Calling Obama a “radical” seems ludicrous to me, pure rhetoric. He believes in more government than you do — but so do all liberals. We’re not all radicals, except as measured by radicals on the other side.

  • What’s radical about, Obama? surely you can see how mad, Obama Mama is that we are still at 2 .5 WARS…

  • Clavos,

    Even if Rubio is distancing himself, “Is it to capture all of those little old lady and moderate votes, aren’t the *Tea Party* still waiting in the background?”

    Reading Handyguy’s comments, I’m wary…are you?

  • Clavos

    Rubio’s attractive and a good speaker. He’s also a rabid extremist in sheep’s clothing.

    You sure you’re not talking about that other good looking, well-spoken but deceptive campaigner who turned out to be a radical also?

    The one in the White House?

  • Rubio’s attractive and a good speaker. He’s also a rabid extremist in sheep’s clothing.

    He has a good chance of becoming a national figure, so it’s important to keep reminding those moderate voters who might be tempted to vote for him that he is no moderate:

    Not on social issues, not on church/state separation, not on teaching evolution, not on gay rights, not on abortion, and certainly not on the fiscal issues he’d rather talk about.

  • Clavos

    Rubio’s a cutie pie, no doubt about that — a pretty boy, even, which will help, not hinder him. Have to remember all those little old lady voters down here, y’know.

    The article Jeannie links confirms he’s been distancing himself from the TP since Crist went ’round the bend and left the GOP.

    That’s a good thing, it will get him more moderate votes.

    He hasn’t much viable opposition; Meek’s main claim to fame is he’s his mother’s son (she was a power in South Florida for years), but he hasn’t got either her brains or her dynamic personality — he reminds me of a limp rag.

    And Crist shot himself in the foot leaving the GOP. I’ll be very surprised if he wins.

  • Cutie pie Marco Rubio has been deliberately distancing himself from the Tea Party as the general election gets closer.

    You also probably won’t find him bragging about his anti-evolution, pro-“intelligent creation” speeches as a state legislator. [Some commentators even call him a “theocrat.”] He’ll probably tone down that anti-gay stuff too. [He was endorsed by the anti-gay Family Research Council early on.]

  • Clavos,

    That’s funny, MSNBC reported it as a win for the Tea Party… I still say the media has a stake in this new party. my video player is not working right, but if you go to MSNBC/ Morning Joe, Rubio is featured.

    When I Google Tea Party candidate/Rubio articles like this appear.


  • Keith Olbermann named West the “Worst Person in the World” a couple of nights ago, which may be all the endorsement Dan and Clavos require. He received the honor for accusing his opponent of “Gestapo” tactics in videotaping West’s speeches [a fairly common form of opposition research in political races].

    The district is less than 4% black. It was “Ground Zero” [parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties] in the 2000 presidential recount. The district has gone Democrat in the last three presidential races.

    I also found this inspiring quote from West:

    Islam and Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion. It has not been a religion since 622 AD, and we need to have individuals that stand up and say that.

    Finally, before politics, West was best known for interrogating an Iraqi prisoner by threatening to kill him, then firing over his head. He was sanctioned by the military for this, but got lots of “moral support” from conservatives back home.

  • Clavos

    Dan(Miller), let me look into it and get back to you. What little I know about Col. West, I learned from you.

  • Clavos

    He will run as a Republican, Jeannie, he’s never declared anything else, and he just won 85% of the Republican primary vote so he would be foolish to run as a TP candidate, and I doubt that his success in the primary will “splinter” the Republicans; Charlie Crist was losing so badly to Rubio in the primary race that he left the Republican party and became an Independent, a move many of the pundits down here say will probably ensure that he loses the November election.

    He’s not even mentioned on the primary page of the Voter’s Guide on the South Florida Tea Party website.

  • Clavos,

    If Rubio, a Tea Party candidate won the Primaries, is he going to show on a Tea Party Line or Republican? Being from NY, I don’t know your Florida, voting laws.

    I think this is going to splinter the GOP, no?

  • Interesting race, Clav. There is another one on which I’d appreciate your perspective, Florida’s 22d congressional district Republican primary, in which Allen West won a pretty good victory. There was a poorly done web cast of his victory party (there were apparently about 200 viewers world wide). The camera couldn’t pan and I couldn’t see everybody who was there. However, the folks moved back and forth and I probably saw most of them from time to time. The audio was a jumble of voices except when LTC West announced his victory.

    The only thing I found disappointing, but I suppose not surprising, was that I saw only three people with black faces; two of them were LTC and Mrs. West.

    At the moment, LTC West seems to have a better than even chance at winning the seat in November.

    Any thoughts? What role, if any, is race likely to play?