Gov. Charlie Crist hasn't done an actual event for his U.S. Senate campaign in weeks, though critics would say the lines between his campaign and public office are indistinguishable. Anyway, guess where he's going as a Republican-turned-independent U.S. Senate candidate on Monday? The Jewish Center at Century Village in Pembroke Pines -- holy ground for the Democratic party.
The influence of the Democratic-heavy retirement condos of South Florida has been on the wane in recent years but could matter in a low-turnout, mid-term election. And the longtime Democratic frontrunner, U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, could be in trouble on Aug. 24.
Palm cards -- the endorsements handed out by influential condo leaders -- are starting to trickle out. At the top of the card approved by Marvin Manning, president of the Democratic club at Century Village in Boca Raton is Meek's chief rival, Jeff Greene. Greene only became a Democrat in 2008, but has been sending mailers to the heavily Jewish retirement communities that note his experience living in Israel and teaching Hebrew school.
"The function of the primary is to select a team, and in looking at the polling, Meek is always at the bottom of the list,'' Manning said. "Greene came from nowhere and is in contention. We feel he makes a stronger candidate for the ticket."
Also supporting Greene, a billionaire who is bankrolling his own campaign, is one of the most powerful Democratic leaders in Broward County, Diane Glasser.
"I personally do not think that Kendrick Meek can ultimately win this race,'' she said. "If Jeff does, he helps the ticket...Jeff has unlimited resources and is doing what needs to be done."
But in a coup for Meek, he will lead the palm card at Century Village in West Palm Beach -- where Greene's mother lives.
"The fact that his mother is there is wonderful, but our board came together and decided Kendrick was the best choice,'' said the club president, Sam Oser. "He's been a Democrat. He's a congressman...Jeff of course is new on the block and we're hoping people like him will be active in the future."