[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/29/art.meek0429.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Kendrick Meek said Thursday that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to leave the Republican Senate primary doesn't change the Democrat's campaign strategy."]
Washington (CNN) – Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Florida, wasted no time Thursday detailing his campaign strategy on how he will approach an expected three-way general election contest for Florida's open Senate seat.
"I feel that this doesn't change our campaign," Meek said at a press conference 30 minutes before Florida Gov. Charlie Crist announced that he was abandoning the Republican primary and, instead, run as an unaffiliated candidate. Meek is expected to be the Democratic nominee.
A Quinnipiac University poll, released two weeks ago, suggested that Meek will begin the general election race behind both Crist and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who now has a clear path to the Republican nomination.
Meek said he intends to attack both candidates on their records, arguing that Rubio is too conservative to win in Florida and claiming Crist is inconsistent.
"Rubio is - I believe is - far right of where Floridians are, the majority of Floridians," the Florida Democrat said.
Asked to detail Rubio's positions that he thought the majority of Florida voters would reject, Meek highlighted the former House speaker's support of increasing the eligibility age for Social Security benefits as well as immigration reform.
"His position on immigration reform is questionable at best," Meek said of Rubio. "His objection to the selection of Justice Sotomayor - being selected to the Supreme Court is going to be problematic in a general election setting."
Meek also claimed that Rubio "did what he had to do to secure the hard right base on the Republican side.
"He needs to be commended for it, but he is not going to be able to gain the majority of the votes in Florida with some of the positions that he's already taken in this race," Meek said.
As for Crist, Meek said he would focus on what he alleged is Crist's penchant for inconsistency. He mentioned Crist's vacillation on the Obama administration's stimulus package, his position on offshore drilling and Thursday's announcement to leave the GOP primary even though the governor denied he would do so in the past.
And Meek charged that Crist failed to be an aggressive governor until he decided to run for Senate.
"The difference between the governor and I is that I have never been accused of being lazy," he said. "I've always been out there working on behalf of the people of the State of Florida."
Rubio also has to know that now he's going to have two opponents slamming him repeatedly for the rest of the campaign for his call for Social Security to be eliminated. In a state like Florida with a high elderly population, Rubio's desire to eliminate Social Security is going to reduce him to his Tea Party base.
I lived in Orlando for 9 years when Jeb Bush was governor the Crist. Crist was the first and only republicain I ever voted for. Crist cares for the people of his state and work for the people. He stands behind his belief and doesn't care if the right or left doesn't like it. He a great stand up guy and hopes he wins. Democrats in Florida please vote for Crist he will work for every citizen in Florida.
Go Marco Rubio!!! Meek and Crist should stay in Florida.
Good luck both are repos . only one is a repo reject.!
This is the luckiest man in America, and undeservedly so. He went from having a 0% chance of winning to a better than 50% chance of winning with Crist's move.
and Rep. Meek, keep your relentless attack, especially directed at corruption at its best marquito, , you have our back, sending funds to your campaign and will keep on sending. God Bless!!!
I'll get more votes here in Texas than Meeks will in Florida.
that's the man I'm voting for
You will NOT win, Mr. Meek.