Washington (CNN) – The bitter Democrat-versus-Democrat race to become Florida's next senator on Tuesday saw a new salvo, with one candidate slamming his opponent as a "carpetbagger" who is trying "to buy Florida's senate seat."
Rep. Kendrick Meek's campaign has also said that Jeff Greene has lived in Florida for such a short time that he would be ineligible to run for other key statewide offices.
Meek's campaign made the charges in a campaign statement released Tuesday. Meek and Greene are locked in a battle for the Democratic senate nomination that will be decided in a late August primary.
The winner will vie for Florida's senate seat in a three-way race against Gov. Charlie Crist, who abandoned the Republican Party for an independent bid, and Republican Marco Rubio, the former Florida House Speaker.
The statement from Meeks' campaign references a website that, it says, "Confirms that Greene didn't live here long enough to run for any statewide office."
"…Jeff Greene decided to run for political office in Florida after only living here for two years," the statement says, adding that Greene "asks middle class Floridians to trust him, but why would they?"
Meeks' campaign goes on to slam the billionaire Greene, a real estate investor, as a "California carpetbagger" who amassed his fortune at the expense of middle class families.
The statement claims that Greene, "is spending millions of his ill-gotten gains to buy Florida's senate seat."
Those claims are "ridiculous," Greene campaign spokesman Paul Blank told CNN.
Related: Greene defends investments
Blank said that Greene moved to Florida 40 years ago with his family.
"He got his first driver's license on [well-known Florida highway] Military Trail, in Southern Florida, when Kendrick Meek was probably still in kindergarten," Blank said, referring to the year 1970.
Blank explained that Greene moved out of the state, for school and for his career, for several decades but returned in February 2008 with his family. Blank said that Greene got his most current driver's license the next month.
"He has deep roots in Florida," Blank said.
Regarding Meeks' charge that Greene amassed his fortune on the backs of middle class voters, Blank called it "utterly false."
"Nothing Jeff Greene did... in any way, caused the housing crisis," Blank said.
Meeks' campaign correctly states that Greene would not qualify to run for other key statewide offices in Florida.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, a candidate for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general is required to be a state resident for the preceding seven years. Candidates for Florida's legislature must be a resident at least two years.
The U.S. Constitution provides eligibility requirements for entry to the Senate, stating that candidates should be at least 30 years old, a U.S. citizen for at least nine years and a resident of the state when elected.
Seizing on that, Blank said of Greene, "He is eligible to run for Senate. And he's giving voters a clear choice."
"Kendrick Meek should worry more about defending his record of failure than attacking Jeff Greene," he added.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll Greene shows Greene and Meek in a virtual dead heat for the Democratic nomination. Meek gets 29-percent and Greene gets 27-percent with a third candidate garnering 3-percent in the poll conducted June 2 – 8 that had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5-percent.