Brendan farrington sums up the state of play in the nastiest … Florida … Senate … race … ever:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The level of political discourse in the Democratic Senate primary boils down to: Your celebrity friends are low lifes. Response: So’s your mom.
At issue are ads like the mailer clipped above (and reprinted in full after the jump,) in which Greene goes after the Dennis Stackhouse story with both guns blazing, and one of them trained on Mother Meek, who is such an institution in black Miami, it’s believed that no one would have ever run against her son in District 17 as long as she lives.
At issue is the consulting contract Carrie Meek had with Stackhouse, who as Kendrick Meek reminded me when I interviewed him Wednesday, completed an office building in the struggling city of Opa-locka shortly before he proposed the never-built Poinciana biotech park that was supposed to be located in Liberty City. Stackhouse paid for the lease on a Cadillac Escalade for the former congresswoman, and she got office space for her foundation in the Opa-locka office building (which now houses that city’s City Hall, and the public library.) Meek has at various times said he was unaware that his mother had a contract with Stackhouse when he sought hefty appropriations for the Poinciana project, and that he never asked his mother where she got her ride. He told me on Wednesday: “If I had violated the public trust in any way, I wouldn’t be eligible to vote, let alone run for the Senate.” And he said that when it comes to mom, “you don’t ask her the details about her business.”
Read the original Miami Herald investigation of the Stackhouse affair here.
True enough. But the appearance is the problem for Meek and his campaign — and Greene is exploiting that appearance problem for all it’s worth. But as Rep. Alcee Hastings suggested when I spoke with him for this story, Greene’s attacks on Carrie Meek might just be edging over the line.
I also talked to Bishop Victory Curry this evening. He’s not only the pastor of perhaps THE marquis black megachurch in Miami, New Birth Baptist, he’s also head of the Miami-Dade NAACP. Bishop Curry told me that he said on his “Tuesday Talk” radio program recently, and will say again and again, that Greene’s attacks on Kendrick Meek’s mom are beyond the pale, and that if Greene is the nominee, he won’t support him. It can’t be overemphasized, the extent to which Carrie Meek is an institution in the black community in Miami. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her attacked publicly, even when her actions have raised questions in the media and caused grumbling on the ground (like her consulting contract with both Miami-Dade County and a county contractor that was involved in a conflict with the county…) Greene hasn’t just crossed that rubicon, he’s blown the rubicon up.
Brendan finds some evidence of voter backlash against the attacks on Carrie Meek in his AP piece:
Even in Florida — home to hanging chads, a presidential deadlock, protests and a recount — the negative tone has hit a new low for some voters.
“All the things he’s saying about Meek’s mother? There’s no facts to that. If there were, there’d be an investigation,” said Brian Zarett, 44, of Delray Beach, who is turned off by “all the mudslinging.”
And as I mentioned in an earlier post, some Democrats may be seeking the refuge — or the opportunity for a protest vote — by not bubbling the ballot oval for either Meek or Greene (which may be why unknown, money-less Maurice Ferre is polling at 5-6 percent.)
And yet, Greene is operating with his own base of black support — namely the Liberty City operatives connected to one Michelle Spence Jones (more on her in a soon-to-come post…) The question is, at what point do they get uncomfortable with the attacks on Mother Meek.
BTW: Team Greene isn’t limiting their attacks to mama. They’re also going after Kendrick on the government-leased car he drives, which they’re heavily implying he’s using improperly. Jesus, take the wheel …
Full mailers below: