Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) told a group of national political reporters this morning he knows his bid for Florida’s open U.S. seat wasn’t the vision some Democrats had for the race.
“Look, I’m a walk on candidate,” he said. “No one said ‘let’s go recruit Meek to run for the Senate.'” But the four-term Miami Rep. said he’s proven he’s the right man for Democrats in 2010.
To prove his point, Meek suggested he’s got the support of the most powerful Democrat there is — President Obama. “I’m pleased with what Obama has done with me early on,” Meek said, claiming that he’s been “in discussions” with the White House about a more formal role for the President down the road.“I haven’t personally crossed my legs with him about it,” he said, “but [the White House] sees the seriousness of our campaign.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Meek’s comments came at pen-and-pad briefing held by his campaign at DSCC headquarters in Washington, across the street from the Senate chamber he hopes to have a desk in come 2011.
The main topic of the briefing was Meek’s new poll, which TPMDC first reported last weekend. Reporters in the room peppered Meek and his campaign team with questions about the poll as well as his viability against likely GOP nominee Gov. Charlie Crist.
Meek said he has solid support with state Democrats and is building a base with national Democratic leaders as well. Last night, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined him at a fundraiser, and former President Clinton has been a mainstay of his campaign thus far. Meek said that base will springboard him to a strong position in the general.
(As for his current primary opponent, former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, Meek’s pollster said, “we’re not focused on the primary … [Meek] will be the Democratic nominee.”)
“I’m far from the perfect candidate for the people of Florida, but I connect with them in ways other people in the race can’t,” Meek said, reeling off his personal biography which he said includes jobs as a skycap and a highly decorated state trooper. “Those are service industry jobs,” he said. “And this is a service industry state.”