September 3rd, 2010
02:17 PM ET
10 years ago

Senior Florida Democrat bucks party, endorses Crist

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist received a surprising endorsement on Thursday.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist received a surprising endorsement on Thursday.

(CNN) - The highest ranking Democrat in Florida's state Senate on Thursday endorsed Republican-turned-independent Gov. Charlie Crist in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

In doing so, Florida state Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson passed on an opportunity to endorse fellow Democrat, Rep. Kendrick Meek.

Lawson, known as the "Dean of the Legislature" for his tenure as the longest serving member of Florida's state Senate, is the only African-American state senator from North Florida; Meek is Florida's first ever African-American U.S. Senate nominee.

"Florida desperately needs an independent senator in Washington who will fight for good jobs and economic opportunity, a quality education for every child, and Social Security for all of our seniors regardless of what the political party bosses want," Lawson said in a statement. "Charlie Crist will be exactly that Senator, and I am proud to endorse his candidacy."

Crist said he was "honored" to receive the endorsement.

Lawson mounted a primary challenge against incumbent Democratic Rep. Alan Boyd in Florida's 2nd congressional district, but came up short in last week's election with 48.5 percent of the vote. The national Democratic grassroots network Organizing for America, which is run out of the Democratic National Commmittee, backed Boyd in the race, while Meek did not endorse either candidate.

"This is all about Al Lawson," Meek's campaign said in a statement provided to the Tallahassee Democrat. "We stand firm with our Big Bend supporters who need a strong Democrat like Kendrick Meek to fight for the middle class in the U.S. Senate."

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted August 11-16 showed Crist leading his Republican challenger Marco Rubio by a 39-32 percent margin. Meek registered at 16 points in the survey.

Filed under: 2010 • Charlie Crist • Florida • Kendrick Meek
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    I like it. Nothing could possibly make the conservatives angrier than electing Crist or anyone else who told them to shove their right wing extremism where the sun don't shine...and honestly, at this point, angering them and making them go even more batsh-t crazy, like throwing rocks at a bee hive, is what I think November should be all about. Eventually, one of two things will happen when they finally cross the threshold and just plain go too far: (1) alot of complacent sleeping ideologues will finally have to wake up or (2) states like MA, NY, CA, etc., will be the ones forced to secede and we'll create our own union, excluding all the imbecile red states. See how long your state populations last then, GOPers.

    September 3, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. E. Tree

    I'd rather see the Gulf of Mexico's oil slick as Florida's senator than Mr. Rubio.

    September 3, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Let's not kid ourselves people. Charlie Crist is still a republican! He just happened to get booted out of the party.

    September 3, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Alex

    Hey I am African American and totally understand his premise for his endorsement these midterms are too important to play games with this years elections and we don't need to play roulette with tea bagged endorsed Rubio. Plus there is more at play here than the obvious most southern states are not quite that progessive to start electing African American U.S Senators, anyone that argue the contrary please enlighten me with an intellegent argument please, not hateful mean spirtied gargbage!!!

    September 3, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. askgees

    The DEMS are imploding. It's beautiful......

    September 3, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. leo PA

    you have to be kidding me.............

    September 3, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. felicia

    I don't live in florida, but i like Charlie Crist i think he is doing a wonderful job. I'm AA, i don't have anything against Meeks i just don't think this is his time to serve.

    September 3, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. vic

    Good job hard see good candidates now days Charlie Crist good candidates I wish more democrats and republicans endorse him

    September 3, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Deb in Texas

    May the BEST MAN win!

    September 3, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. NVa Native

    I can hear Beck now calling Lawson a "reverse bigot". LOL!!

    It's nice to see thoughtful politicians making a tough choice and speaking their mind instead of being spineless sheep who follow the party boss' talking points – like EVERY Republican politician does no matter how destructive they're actions or inactions are to the country.

    September 3, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Why not???? IF Crist is the best choice for the Senate, why not endorse Crist?

    As registered Independent, I would vote for Crist. Rubio is too over-top-conservative for me.

    September 3, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Obama promises new jobs initiatives"

    Have fun with that, dude. The GOP just found out this morning that they have another 67,000 private sector jobs to try to convince corporate America to shed while you're in office. To their way of thinking, the economy is moving against them. If anything, you'll be lucky to get them to agree to a bill containing nothing but tax cuts...and I doubt they'd even do that at this point.

    September 3, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Tim

    Let's just hope that Crist takes more Republican votes from Toolbio than he takes Democratic votes from Meek. I like Charlie, but his presence in the election could hand either one of them the election.

    September 3, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Luis vazquez

    This will not save you Crist voters are on to you and to the liberals agenda, go Rubio. Nov can't get here fast enough!!!

    September 3, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  15. Get the name right

    It's Allen Boyd, spell his name right Geoff Simon

    September 3, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. USA

    Charlie Crist is pretty much a democrat anyway so really no story hear folks

    September 3, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Snow

    More cracks in the demorat party. Why does the liberal lame brained media not report this, oh yes, it's biased. If it was reversed with Republicans, it would be front page news and all over PMSnbc,abc and cbs.

    September 3, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I like Charlie Crist. A lot. The man showed signs of independent thinking and human decency, and he cares about his state and its' people.

    Good luck Crist.

    September 3, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Discernment


    Charlie Crist is the real 'MAVERICK'.

    Unlike that fake-phony McCain who will change principles in mid-stream, Charlie Crist will fight or forego either political party if that is what it takes to make Florida and its people number #1.

    Run Charlie, Run!!!

    September 3, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Jim

    Wow. They don't want to be seen in the same room with the economic genius Obama and now endorse other candidates outside their party. Things are getting desparate and we are only 120 days to the biggest tax increase in American History.

    September 3, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. gt

    well that just sealed the deal for rubio....

    September 3, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Pragmatic

    Crist is a well-known moderate: People in Florida know he's willing to take a stand on his beliefs ... not like Rubio, who is already under investigation for misuse of republican party funds ... but who knows – maybe the "Meek" will inherit the earth ...

    September 3, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. T'SAH from Virginia

    PLEASE my African American sisters and brothers (and a few white folks), don't start calling Lawson an Uncle Tom (actually white people won't call him an Uncle Tom – maybe a traitor)!!!

    People have the right to endorse whomever they want and I am sure they base it on who would get the job done BETTER (at least Democrats do – I don’t know what the hell the RepubliCAN’Ts are putting out there). I like Meek and I would love to see him win – I really do!! But in reality, it looks really DIM!!

    September 3, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. diridi

    what a color changing camelli n guy...turning to be him...dems..

    September 3, 2010 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    Congress needs the ex-Republicans, those RINOs. Congress needs a 'tempering' mechanism between parties. I like those who go by their own belief system and not of their party.

    September 3, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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