Though he was outspent five-to-one by a billionaire opponent, Rep. Kendrick Meek beat real estate investor Jeff Greene for the Democratic Senate nomination in Florida. Meek becomes the first black Senate nominee from Florida.
Meek received about 55 percent of the vote versus Greene, who spent about $25 million on his campaign, reports the Miami Herald. The victory sets up a dramatic three-way contest for an open seat in November. Meek will face off against anti-gay, hard right Republican nominee Marco Rubio and former Republican turned independent Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
"Floridians sent a clear message—they want a real Democrat representing them in the Senate," Meek said. "The naysayers said we couldn't beat a billionaire, and tonight with your help, we proved them wrong." And perhaps a swipe at both Crist and Rubio without naming them, Meek added: "Floridians want leaders who will fight for them all the time, not just when it helps their own political career or advances an extreme philosophy."
Meek has a 100 percent rating (PDF) from the Human Rights Campaign. Meek supports same-sex marriage and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, and co-sponsored the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,.
Meek, Crist and Rubio are seeking the seat vacated by Mel Martinez—the formerly rabidly right-wing anti-gay senator, and one-time Republican National Committee chairman. Martinez boasted a zero HRC rating and once infamously gay-baited .... his anti-gay Republican challenger.