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. Silence DoGood

    I hope to see more Demo-publican-Repub-ocrat defections from the One Great party to independents.

    Time for a Change from the Status Quo.
    whatever – just think for yourself!

    September 3, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. jim

    Dems are scattering like rats deserting a ship that is sinking fast.All to save their hind parts from the beating they are about to take in Nov. because of Obama.

    September 3, 2010 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Shirley in California

    So he endorsed Crist... the sun STILL came up, the rains STILL came down, the birds chirped and the seas are still full of water.

    No surprise there now is it?

    September 3, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Orlando Patriot

    OUCH!! That certainly can't be a positive for Meek:)!! However, it just shows that many of us in Florida could have told you TWO YEARS ago Crist was a Democrat. Why do you think the Florida conservatives kicked his butt to the curb. He sell his mother for a vote and sell his children if a poll told him to do so.

    I can't believe a Democrat would even CONSIDER voting for this guy. He changes his position as often as he changes his underwear (which, I am hopeful, is on a daily basis). You think he is Democrat now just wait until a poll tells him he needs to be MORE conservative. He will kick you to the curb too!! He is a typical politician and his kind are what we need to remove from power......

    September 3, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Smart man, now let all democrats back Crist and feed Rubio back to the Republicans who want to drink and toast themselves at our expense like they've always done.

    September 3, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. valwayne

    The irony and injustice of this situation cries out to all Florida voters, White, African American, and Hispanic! Democrats are starting to betray their own highly qualified African American Nominee in favor of a rich Elite Ex-Republican White Man, while the Republicans in Florida and across the entire nation are proudly rallying to fully support their Hispanic American Nominee. It also needs to be pointed out that Republicans were favoring their Hispanic Nominee Rubio against Gov Christ the rich Elite White man when they were running for the Republican nomination, which is why Gov Christ dropped out. I think Democrats have a lot of splainen to do?

    September 3, 2010 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Clwyd

    I don't care if it is my dog that endorses Crist! The republican, Rubio, who almost lost his house because he can't manage his own affairs, does not belong being in political office, governor or anything else!

    September 3, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. gary

    Rubio is the only candidate who will be a deficit hawk...I like Crist and would make him a close second, but right now we need more Republicans.

    September 3, 2010 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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