Who is ahead in the U.S. Senate race in Florida?

The withdrawal of Gov. Charlie Crist from the Republican primary has taken a great deal of interest out of the Aug. 24 primary races for the U.S. Senate. The question was: Would Charlie Crist or Marco Rubio represent the Republican Party against Democrat Kendrick Meek in the Nov. 2 general elections?

Since then, Jeff Greene, a billionaire from Palm Beach, has challenged Meek for the right to go against Republican Rubio and independent Crist. Greene claims that because of his plan to spend his own millions on his campaign he doesn’t have to be beholden to any pressure groups seeking his support because of financial campaign contributions. He can be his own man. Greene must be green when it comes to politics. Campaign contributions are only one of several political pressures on how you vote in the Senate. Pressure from within the party on how and for what you vote, and vote trades between senators is an even bigger challenge to being an independent thinker.

Rubio, not having any real primary challengers, is moving toward the political center acknowledging, by his actions, that neither a leftwing nor rightwing radical can ever win an election. Unfortunately for Rubio his slow move to the center is angering his financial supporters that were attracted to him because of his conservative Tea Party political philosophy. Meek, the Democratic candidate is facing the threat of Crist stealing votes from the more conservative wing of the Democratic Party. On top of this, Meek must contend with the looming problem of his association with and his support of disgraced real estate developer Dennis Stackhouse. You can bet Greene will not let Democratic voters forget Stackhouse this August.

Gov. Crist seems to be enjoying the benefits of sitting right in the middle of the political mainstream. He is conservative enough to appeal to a majority of independent voters who don’t like Rubio and haven’t heard of Meek. Crist has lined up the majority of teachers in the state with his veto of the Republican-masterminded modification of the way Florida pays, promotes and protects its teachers. Parents of school children are moving toward Crist.

It appears, at this writing, that the governor will veto the Republican-passed law requiring pregnant women planning an abortion to have an ultrasound picture of their baby shown to them before they can have the procedure. Most women favor his veto, both those who absolutely support the right to an abortion and those that do not believe in abortions but support the women’s right to make their own decision without governmental intervention.

Crist’s stating that he might call a special session of the legislature to consider a bill banning oil drilling within the 10.5-mile limit — maximum permitted by federal law — of Florida shores will bring more supportive votes this coming August. Oil on Florida beaches is a very strong issue given BP’s failure to control the pollution of the Gulf of Mexico and its impact on the unforeseeable future of the Gulf states.

When it is all over, and the politicians have time to debate their actions in this voting cycle, Rubio’s pushing Crist out of the Republican Party will stand out as the biggest political mistake of the election. Rubio could have totally eliminated Crist by encouraging him to stay in the party and end his threat Aug. 24. Now it looks like Crist will be in the Senate and Rubio will be looking for a job.

We appreciate your opinions on this column whether in agreement or disagreement. Please send your comments to (fax number) 305-662-6980 or email to < letters@communitynewspapers.com >. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of this newspaper, its editors or publisher.

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About the Author

Kenneth Bluh
Kenneth has been writing a column for Community Newspapers since 1989 when he first wrote about the incorporation movement in UMSA (Unincorporated Municipal Services Area). His columns cover the political scene in Miami-Dade and Tallahassee. Educated at the Wharton School in Philadelphia, Kenneth has been a member of the banking/mortgage lending profession in Florida since 1962. Contact him at kbluh@americanbsm.com or 786-247-0547 where he manages American Bancshares Mortgage LLC’s Reverse Mortgage Department.

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