In Florida Primaries, Insiders Meek, McCollum Look to Win
It’s looking like political insiders might prevail in tomorrow’s most anticipated Senate and gubernatorial primaries in Florida, an outcome that would throw a wrench in the trope of 2010 being the year of the outsider.
According to a Mason-Dixon poll released on Saturday, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) is leading billionaire Jeff Greene 42-30% in his Democratic senate primary, while Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum leads businessman Rick Scott in the GOP governor’s primary 45-36%. Meek and McCollum’s apparent position of strength comes after months of being considered down and out in the face of massive campaigns launched by their self-funded rivals.
The lesson being taken away by the press this morning is that money can’t buy you elections (or love). Indeed, spending tons of your own money to get elected might still be a drawback for voters in itself. In the Washington Post, Susan MacManus, who teaches political science at the University of South Florida, explained, “People are saying, ‘Why are they spending all this money to be a senator or governor, and is it right?’”
But it’s worth noting how far money did manage to propel two candidates who emerged from almost complete obscurity earlier this year. If not for last minute questions about their character — Greene’s profligate yacht trips and shady real estate deals, Scott’s refusal to release a deposition he gave in a lawsuit against one of the companies he founded – they might still be sitting in the driver’s seat. And the races are still too close to count either candidate out, by any means.