February 14th, 2010
08:47 AM ET
8 years ago

Florida Democrat Meek revs up his advertising


The Senate campaign of Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek is the lead sponsor of a NASCAR vehicle.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

(CNN) - NASCAR stock cars have long been traveling billboards for motor oil, whiskey, even mayonnaise and trashbags, but one of the cars whizzing Saturday along the Daytona International Speedway was a marketing vehicle for a politician.

NASCAR's official kickoff to its season at the racetrack included a marketing vehicle for U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Florida.

"There are a number of businesses that benefit from the presence of this race," Meek, who calls himself a longtime NASCAR fan, told CNN in a trackside interview. "I want to be a part of it, and I want to be able to reach out to the NASCAR world and let them know that I'm a part of it."

Meek was the lead sponsor of driver Mike Wallace's race car in the sport's second-tier Nationwide series race, which began the weekend ahead of Sunday's Daytona 500.

Meek is running for the seat of retiring Sen. George Lamieux, R-Florida, who served as a "caretaker" for the seat vacated by former Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, last year.

Political candidates frequently court the NASCAR vote at the race track during an election year, and some have sponsored cars before. But with NASCAR's Southern roots and fans who are typically considered to be politically conservative, it's an unusual move for a Democrat.

"I think you're seeing Kendrick Meek, who is thinking ouside of the box," said Wallace, talking up his sponsor. "What better place when you're running for a Senate seat in the State of Florida than to come to Daytona for the first race of the season."

Meek needs the attention. Election prognosticators think a Republican will likely win the election, and they are focused on what promises to be an exciting GOP primary battle between Florida Governor Charlie Crist and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio.

Filed under: Florida
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Robert

    Thats prettty cool. Wish tMeek puta as much thought into our Future as she didhers.

    February 14, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. Steve

    This is nothing new. Bob Dole had a truck in the first Las Vegas Motor Speedway truck series race in 1996 and politicians sponsored race cars in the last election cycle as well.

    It is probably good for a politician to sponsor a car anytime his opponent isn't. Exclusiveness in front of any demographic is not a bad thing. Nascar returns to Daytona in July, so it will be interesting to see who else is on a car then...

    February 14, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. Susan in NC

    Only in the South......and I say that lovingly....... 🙂

    February 14, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. jim atmadison


    Makes sense for a Dem. Go Meeks!

    February 14, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  5. fabio P

    The only thing as dumb as Democrats trying to recruit NASCAR fans is the NFL trying to gets fans outside of the US. Both efforts just will not work.

    February 14, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Southern Voice

    America is my home- Dick Cheney trashed it, George Bush crashed it, Fox and Rush assailed it, and Sarah Palin failed it.

    February 14, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  7. tp

    That's nice, another moron politician promoting "form" over "substance". Given that the current administration and congress are selling our country down the river, at the very least, they should all be criminally prosecuted for treason. They all must GO, by vote or FORCE if necessary!!!!!

    February 14, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. liz

    Way to go! I'm a Democrat and followed NASCAR for many years. My favorite driver's a republican, but i try not to hold it against him. other than that, he's a great guy.

    February 14, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    After listening to Rush and Boortz, I think right wing republicans need a new way to greet each other. This bending over and grabbing their ankles is worse than dogs sniffing each other's butt.

    February 14, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    The current administration is trying to get our country back from the idiots that sold it down the river from 2000-2008. The GOP is making that difficult, but we are on our way back to greatness.

    February 14, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Maybe there's some horse-and-buggy competition where some Republican can have his name painted on the side of the buggy. 🙂

    February 14, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    It is comforting to know that the vast majority of Americans really do not care what right wingnut conservatives think.

    February 14, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Terry from West Texas

    tp wrote: "... the current administration and congress are selling our country down the river ... they should all be criminally prosecuted for treason. They all must GO, by vote or FORCE if necessary!!!!!"

    So you are ready for another Civil War, tp. I personally think that the last one was a very bad experience for everyone who participated in it. The nation has still not recovered from it.

    I personally have not held a rifle since Vietnam days, but to keep this union together and to protect democratic government – which you are willing to overthrow – I'm ready to pick that rifle up and fight for my country.

    You, of course, would establish a dictatorship of right-thinking people very much like yourself. Perhaps you see yourself as the Supreme Leader or President for Life. You don't seem to have much respect for elected officials and I suspect you don't care much for democracy either.

    My grandfather had a sign in his barber shop which read, "If you don't approve of our form of government, there are boats leaving for Europe every day."

    February 14, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. xmleft

    In NASCAR, the only right turns are left turns!

    February 14, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Someone on Fox once said that government has never created a job, and the sheep believed it. It almost makes me wish that we never allowed our government to bring electricity to their backward thinking, bring them their mail, create fire and police departments, create agencies to keep them safe(except for problems at Toyota), provide them roads to drive on, provide care for our elderly and our veterans, etc.

    February 14, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Put me on the side of Terry from West Texas. When people were not happy when Nixon was president (gas lines, wage freeze) I remember the extreme right saying, "America, love it or leave it." It is time they take their own advice.

    February 14, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  17. Charlie in Maine

    We shall fight them on the ground and in the air we shall fight them on the beaches and in the forests in the cities and the towns at the county fairs and local taverns, on the basketball courts and the Nascar tracks and we shall never surrender....Go Dems. Our as my friend James Carville would say" Who Dem?"

    February 14, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Sam

    I wonder where tp was when the previous administration was selling our country down the drain by sending our young men and women to die in a forieign land for no reason other than the hubris of Bush, Cheney, Rumfeld, and Hallibuirton.

    The cuirrent administration is doing everything it can to put the country back on track and tp has a right to call it treasonous although most Americans think otherwise. But to call for the overthrow of our government by force IS treason and I hope the FBI and CIA are working on an arrest warrant for tp even as we speak. Racist nutjobs like him belong in jail.

    February 14, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. Linell Winter Park, FL

    Uhh, Robert, Meek is a 'he' not a 'she'

    February 14, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. GI Joe

    Who cares what the party of NO NO NO NO NO thinks. They trashed our economy and the economy of the eitire world with the deregulation started by Keating 5 (McCain's group) - now they just want to stall and stomp their little feet and throw a hissy-fit.

    They all support the John Birch Society too.

    February 14, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. Monster Zero

    February 14th, 2010 9:50 am ET

    After listening to Rush and Boortz, I think right wing republicans need a new way to greet each other. This bending over and grabbing their ankles is worse than dogs sniffing each other's butt.

    That might work but they could only greet other limited Republicans like Arlen Specter, it wouldn't work for the Dems because their heads would be so far up in the way of a sniff all you would smell is stinky breath and as far as bending over and grabbing their ankles, well we will just let John, Barney and Bill figure that one out for us!

    February 14, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  22. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    I just watched a segment on Fareed Zakaria, and a guy named Paul Volcker was on the show; he had some very interesting explanations of why we got into this mess into the first place. First, he said that we became too much of an consumer, buying a lot more than we could possibly pay back. One of his other reasons he said was because of a very nonfunctional government; he said that there are very important parts in the president's cabinent that still have not been filled; he also said that this congress is the most dysfuntional he has seen in his lifetime. Paul said it is not because nobody has been put foward to those spots, it is because of hold ups (fillubusters) and arguing from our congressmen and women that are supposed to represent us and our interests. He also said that the reforms that are being proposed like Financial Regulation is not going through because of the very same reasons of the congress being very dysfunctional; he included that, when a bank or big institution gets into deep trouble, an authority needs to step in to liquidate or merge the bank or insititution. Mr. Volcker included in his statement in his interview with Mr. Zakaria that the only way to get rid of our US unfunded Liability debt is to make some very unpopular decisions; if you took a look at the total US unfunded Liability debt that has been building up for the past 4 decades, you will understand that the only way to pay that debt off without raising the tax on the middle class ist to raise the tax on the wealthy a good margin. I know it's not the popular thing to do, but for a US unfunded liability debt of that magnitude to be paid off, that is the only logical way most professional, leading economists say needs to be done. He said that the only way we could ensure long term prosperous economic growth is to become the leading exporter of goods, not the leading importer of goods. A big chuck of imports our nation buys is foreign energy from the OPEC and other foreign countries; to fix that, of course, in my opinion, is to make the necessary sacrifice to make the transition to a clean energy independent nation; the way we can do that is to make a series of huge investments in clean energy technology in the next couple of decades; it is going to be hard in the short and medium term, but in the long term, the payoff will be magnificient. Paul Volcker has been around in the political spectrum for 50 years now, so I assume he knows what he is talking about.

    February 14, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. buckwheat

    Discrimination this morning I see.

    February 14, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. buckwheat

    Censorship is the first step in forming a dictatorship.Why do you get on Iran's case when you practice the same thing?

    February 14, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. buckwheat

    Seems like I remember a few years back a gentleman said that a congressman from the south was saying "there was too much consumming going on out there". Maybe he was right.

    February 14, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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