Kendrick Meek faces new challenges

``I'm not sure Kendrick is aware of how quickly this race is about to be over,'' said Miami-based political consultant Jeff Garcia, who has managed Democratic congressional and Senate campaigns but not worked with Meek. ``I would say this thing is on life support.''

The Mason-Dixon survey pegged Crist at 38 percent, rising Republican star Marco Rubio at 32 percent and Meek at 19 percent. Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre received 4 percent and Greene got 2 percent.

Lori Glasser, president of the Broward County Democratic Council of Club Presidents, said Meek has been taking the country's Democratic stronghold for granted.

``I think he's in trouble, and I think he's been in trouble for a while,'' she said. ``I think you will find Democrats that support Charlie Crist because they like him and find him very personable."

Also, on Saturday at the unveiling of his new campaign headquarters in St. Pete, House Democrat Darryl Rouson endorsed Crist for governor, while the day before St. Pete House Democrat Bill Heller was non-committal in who he'll back in the fall.

These items add to the many uninspired comments we've heard when talking to some Democrats anecdotally about the Meek candidacy  The Congressman's biggest drawback is his lack of name recognition.  But many Democrats seem to not want to even get to know Meek better before deciding that they'd now rather back the Charlie Crist independent campaign.

As we've reported previously, Crist has shown an ability (unlike many other Republicans) to get a decent slice of the black vote in previous elections.  Meek has downplayed Crist is doing as well with that demographic as he did against Jim Davis in 2006 (when he got over 18% of that vote), but these days Kendrick Meek shouldn't take anything for granted.

Is it just us, or does it seem like Florida Democrats are ready to jump ship off the Kendrick Meek bandwagon pretty quickly?

The Miami Congressman and heavy favorite to win the party's nomination for U.S. Senate received some rough news over the weekend, and even before that some local Dems announced that they were Charlie Crist guys, anyway.

The big story was in the Miami Herald (and St. Pete Times) on Saturday, which reported on some close Meek family ties to an alleged crook named Dennis Stackhouse.  The story begins this way:

As U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek championed a proposed biopharmaceutical complex for Liberty City in 2003, his Miami chief of staff received $13,000 from the project's developer to help the aide buy a house, newly released police records show.

The developer, Dennis Stackhouse, is now awaiting trial, accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the failed Poinciana Park project that was supposed to revitalize the blighted Liberty City community. Nothing was ever built.

The police records show that Stackhouse engaged in an elaborate campaign to curry favor with Meek as the builder sought the congressman's help in obtaining federal funding for the project. In addition to helping the aide's house purchase, Stackhouse hired Meek's mother, former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, paying her $90,000 in consulting fees and paying for a Cadillac Escalade for her to drive.

Meek twice sought congressional earmarks to benefit the project, but has insisted that was unrelated to his mother's work for the developer.

Meek's Democratic opponent in the Senate race, the very wealthy Jeff Greene, found an opening to blast Meek upon the story's publication, calling Meek's behavior "outrageous."  The Meek camp followed up by calling out Greene (again) by saying that he made his riches on credit default swaps and thus " he became a billionaire on the backs of middle class Floridians."

But more importantly, the same Herald article showed how little love some in the Democratic Party community have for Meek.  Check out the comments in the same piece:

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