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.