Who Could’ve Done Better Than Meek (As A Democrat)

A lot of people disliked the fact that Kendrick Meek was the Democratic candidate who Democratic Party insiders rallied around early on, forcing out or scaring off other potential candidates. The theory was that these other candidates would’ve done better than Meek Tuesday. I’m calling bullshit again.

Who would’ve done better? There were lots of suggestions:

-Dan Gelber: I love Dan and he certainly would’ve been the best person in Florida to do the job of U.S. Senator, but he dropped out of the race because he wasn’t raising the same kind of money Meek was. After that, he lost a statewide race to Pam Bondi, one of the worst Republican statewide candidates I’ve ever seen.

-Pam Iorio: She may be popular in her area, but even fewer people outside her area knew her than people outside Meek’s area knew him. If one of Meek’s weaknesses was name recognition, Iorio would’ve had a bigger problem there. I truthfully had never heard of her until people started talking about her for senate.

-Jeff Greene: Take the worst qualities of Kendrick Meek and couple them with the worst qualities of Rick Scott and that’s Jeff Greene. He would’ve had more money and he would’ve wasted it all.

-Anybody else: Meek, Gelber, Iorio and Greene would’ve done better than any other candidate who could’ve possibly run as a Democrat with two exceptions…

1. Alex Sink: If Sink had chosen to run for Senate, she might’ve done better than Meek. Then again, she might not have, since some of the same reasons Meek never caught fire would’ve applied to her as well. I doubt she would’ve ever done it anyway, running for Senate is about ideas and ideology, running for governor is about governing and technical job duties. Sink is more appropriate for the latter.

2. Charlie Crist: If Crist had switched parties long before the primary and run as a Democrat, there’s a legitimate chance he could’ve won the primary and the general. People outside of the right of the Republican Party aren’t really excited about Marco Rubio, so Crist might’ve won in a two-way race as a Democrat.

I’m not suggesting that it would’ve been a good thing for Crist to become a Democrat. It certainly would’ve been bad for Democrats and bad for the U.S. Senate, I’m just saying that Crist as a Democrat appears to be the only realistic path to defeating Marco Rubio. Sure, if Meek had dropped out earlier in the process, Crist could’ve won as an NPA, but it would’be been unfair and undemocratic to ask Meek to do that and there’s no way he would’ve ever done that.

I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that Crist might still try to become a Democrat. I’m not a fan of it.


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7 thoughts on “Who Could’ve Done Better Than Meek (As A Democrat)

  1. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? I know she’s not exactly a progressive darling, but might she have done better than Meek? I actually don’t know, but her name came to mind first.

    Also, Cathy Castor. Lower name recognition, but she’s a hell of a fundraiser, and would have energized the base.

  2. I believe you’ve truly hit on the crux of the problem, haven’t you? Who was there? No one. The ranks of Democrats – let alone progressives – in this state are so thin right now that anyone would have been crushed like Rep. Meek.

    Re: Gelber. He lost for the same reason every other Democrat lost this year – the (D) next to his name. In a higher-profile race, he surely would have done better.

    The fact of the matter though is that with Gov. Crist in the race, no Dem was going to do anything.

  3. Wasserman Schultz maybe, but she had no interest since she was moving up the ladder of House leadership. She’s a future Speaker of the House if she stays there long enough. Moving to the senate would hurt her seniority.

    Castor will be a good candidate for higher office some day, but she isn’t there yet. And I doubt she would’ve outraised Meek.

    Scott, I don’t think that these are bad candidates or that there is a dearth of progressive Democrats in Florida, I just think that they aren’t ready yet for the offices they are running for. They haven’t done the necessary things to run for the offices they are seeking and they haven’t gotten the training and advice necessary. Same is true of the staffers working for them.

    The problem isn’t that we don’t have a bench now, it’s that we didn’t have a bench for so long that our bench players are the starting team now, when they really should be practicing and preparing for the future, not running for higher office now.

  4. Kenneth,

    I can buy that – I think we’re arguing for the same thing but in different ways. Having unprepared candidates is very similar to not having them.

    Long story short – I agree. :)