Kendrick Meek campaigns for Senate with Jim Davis in Tampa

02/09/10 Seán Kinane
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The race for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by George LeMieux won’t be settled until November, but it is already heating up. That’s especially true on the Republican side where Governor Charlie Crist has lost a commanding lead over former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio. But the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek, says he’s not concerned his chances to win the Senate seat are slipping because of all the attention focused on the GOP.

“I don’t think so," Meek replied.

Last week Marco Rubio had to backtrack from his suggestion that the U.S. Census should only count “legal American citizens.” He was criticized by many supporters and detractors, including Crist. Today in Tampa, Kendrick Meek predicted that with an accurate count, Florida may overtake New York to become the nation’s third most populous state.

Meek was asked if Rubio is too far right to be elected statewide in Florida.

“I think that the voters will answer that question. I look forward to that day coming, if Mr. Rubio makes it through the primary process. And I look forward to going head-to-head with him on those questions of responsibility and leadership. And I think that’s what it’s going to come down to.”

Jim Davis, who represented parts of Tampa in Congress until 2007, joined Meek at a downtown hotel. Davis says he “absolutely” thinks Meek has a chance to beat whoever survives the GOP primary.

Meek is taking the unusual step of sponsoring a driver at this weekend’s Daytona 500 NASCAR race. But he wouldn’t say how much it is costing his campaign to sponsor Mike Wallace.

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek

Kendrick Meek campaign

Sen. George LeMieux

Charlie Crist campaign

Marco Rubio campaign

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