U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek announced on Thursday morning that his campaign for the U.S. Senate had raised more than $1 million from more than 7,000 supporters in the second quarter of 2010 and his campaign team released a memo arguing he can win -- despite trailing behind the field in funds and in the polls.
"Kendrick Meek is the only true Democrat in this race who has fought for middle-class Florida families his entire life, said Abe Dyk, Meeks campaign manager. Kendrick's support is both wide and deep from everyday people who are working hard to elect a Democratic leader to represent Florida."
The Meek camp took some comfort in the fact that 85 percent of its donors gave $100 or less and said that was an indication that the campaign had widespread support across the state.
"From day one, we have built this campaign on hard work and grass-roots support, and that effort will only grow," Dyk added.
But with Meek mired in third place in the polls, far behind independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist and likely Republican nominee former House Speaker Marco Rubio, the sum he raised was a fraction of the totals that his rivals hauled during the first quarter of 2010. Meek now has around $4 million in the bank -- while Jeff Greene, the billionaire financier who has been in the race for two and a half months and is closely behind Meek, has spent more than $5 million in advertisements.
A poll released by Rasmussen Reports on Thursday added to Meeks troubles as it confirmed polls released in June that showed him stuck in third place, behind Crist and Rubio. Rubio took 36 percent in the poll with Crist in second with 34 percent. Meek pulled 15 percent -- the same as he had in June when Rubio and Crist had 37 percent. The new poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
The poll found that Greene did better in the general election than Meek -- pulling 18 percent, with Rubio at 37 percent and Crist at 33 percent.
The Meek camp, concerned about increased speculation that Crist was drawing votes away from the Democrats and that their candidate was increasingly irrelevant in the race, released a strategy memo on Thursday morning -- right after its fund-raising numbers and the new poll.
The memo by Dyk insisted that Meek could win, noting that former U.S. Rep Jim Davis, who ran as the Democratic gubernatorial nominee against Crist back in 2006, pulled 45 percent of the vote.
No one who voted for Davis will vote for Rubio, and it is unrealistic that more than 15 percent of Davis voters would vote for Crist this time, said Dyk. This gives Kendrick 38.25 percent of the vote, enough to win.
Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews, or at 850-727-0859.