Some key Florida Democrats are holding off endorsing Rep. Kendrick Meek for the U.S. Senate, adding to the possibility that more Democrats will abandon Meek to support no-party candidate and sitting governor Charlie Crist.
Democratic Palm Beach County Commissioner Andre Fladell told his party to “keep their powder dry” in the primary. Andre Fladell, a political activist in Palm Beach County and the first person there to file a lawsuit over the butterfly ballots in the 2000 election, told the Palm Beach Post, “We’ve expressed to Crist directly that the door is open for discussion, that our leadership is very undecided right now and we have no commitment to anyone.”
Crist is gaining support from other state Democrats. State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo of Wellington said that he would categorically not vote for Kendrick Meek, and would support Crist instead. Eric Johnson, a strategist for former Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler, is set to begin working for the Crist campaign, increasing the possibility that Wexler himself will endorse Crist. At the opening of Crist’s new campaign headquarters in St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg Times reported that Democrats such as State Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, Tampa City Council member Charlie Miranda and former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco all “publicly touted their support for Crist.”
However, national Democrats have given no indication that they will defect. Though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called Crist after he left the Republican primary, Reid’s office said that the call was merely to “wish him [Crist] well,” and that “he was supporting Congressman Meek all the way.”
Meek has consistently trailed Crist and Republican Marco Rubio in polls. The mother and former aide of Meek has also been tied financially to a South Florida developer charged with fraud.