August 2nd, 2010
04:03 PM ET
13 years ago

Emanuel lends Meek a helping hand

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rahm Enanuel will host a fundraiser for Rep. Kendrick Meek."]Washington (CNN) - Rep. Kendrick Meek is getting some help from the White House as he bids for the Democratic Senate nomination in Florida.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel hosts a fundraiser for the four-term congressman Monday night at a private residence in Washington.

Meek faces off in Florida's August 24 primary against billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene, who announced his bid for the Senate just over three months ago. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week indicates that Meek trails Greene by ten points, with 35 percent of likely Democratic primary voters undecided.

A Democratic source says the fundraiser with Emanuel was scheduled before recent reports that some African-American lawmakers were urging the White House to get more involved in helping Meek's campaign.

The White House says the fundraiser is a sign of President Obama's support.

"This event illustrates that the President remains firmly behind Congressman Meek's bid to be the next US Senator from Florida," White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest tells CNN.

Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, a member of Congressional Black Caucus, says the amount of help Obama gives Meek could influence Obama's own prospects in a probable 2012 re-election bid.

"If Kendrick Meek is a United States Senator or if Obama has substantially made an effort to try to make that happen, then the enthusiasm and the excitement of the base of the Democratic party will be plussed up," Hastings said in comments reported Sunday in the Palm Beach Post. "If not, the palpable enthusiasm will not be there."

Obama beat Sen. John McCain in Florida by three points in 2008, capturing the Sunshine state's 27 electoral votes.

Over the weekend Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent out an email supporting Meek's bid. Sen. Bill Nelson, a fellow Democrat and Florida's senior senator, is scheduled attend the Monday night fundraiser, according to a spokesman.

The White House and the Meek campaign confirm that the congressman will attend a Democratic fundraiser headlined by the president in Florida on August 18. But Meek's role at the event is not yet defined.

The Democratic primary winner will face off in November against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican who is running as an independent, and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, the presumptive GOP nominee.

According to two new polls, Crist remains on top in the three-way battle, with Rubio in second and either Greene or Meek a distant third.

Early on in the battle for the Republican Senate nomination, Crist was the overwhelming favorite. But when he announced in late April that he was dropping his bid for his party's nomination, and would run as a non-aligned candidate, a Quinnipiac University poll showed Crist trailing Rubio by more than 20 points.

Since then, Crist has led in most general election polling of the three-way Senate contest.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Florida • Kendrick Meek • Rahm Emanuel
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Steve (the real one)

    Save your money people, Meek will be lucky to even get past the primaries!

    August 2, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Hugo

    Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida, a member of Congressional Black Caucus, says the amount of help Obama gives Meek could influence Obama's own prospects in a probable 2012 re-election bid.
    Let's see, Meek already embroiled in campaign fund fraud allegations and reportedly number 12 on the most corrupt list. Meanwhile, wasn't Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida impeached as a judge for fraud or something, another member of the Congressional Black Caucus working for YOU, tells us of Obama's chances for a 2012 re-election bid....News flash....absolutely ZERO! Bye the way, WHERE THE ARE THE JOBS??

    August 2, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Might as well just formally let Crist switch to Democrat.

    August 2, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. Dale

    Great Picture! Always reminds me of the Grinch who stole Christmas but in this case he steals elections.

    August 2, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Proud member of Global Zero

    Meeks has my vote. Crist is my Gov. but cannot keep on message from one day to the next. I do not trust his stance on off shore drilling. He is a cut taxes no matter what happens to the state. Just look at the lay offs. He wants to raise the limit of children in classes from 22 to 40. Yea, that is going to work. Police over worked, laid off, and their budget is in the dumper too.

    I am a victim of "Cut Taxes".

    August 2, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but... August 2nd, 2010 3:23 pm ET
    "Goldman-Sachs is the Obama admin's 'golden' boy. I'm glad they could use bailout money to lobby our politicians. Barry really cleaned this up while Nancy was draining the swamp, HAHAHAHA!"

    You forgot to end it with, "Have a nice day!" Get your own blog-name, jive turkey!
    -The real Randolph Carter
    P.S. Have a nice day!

    August 2, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |