Kendrick Meek Could Raise Florida Democrats Chances

Democratic congressman Kendrick Meek wants to be Florida's next U.S. senator, but according to a recent poll only 20 percent of likely voters support him.

It's the sound of campaign season... a time to get out the vote with help from people like Christine Rosa. She's a democratic activist working for a local candidate.

Someone she says could benefit from the presence of a statewide candidate - Kendrick Meek - on the November ballot.

“I think it's really good that he's on there, because maybe if he wins, she'll win, and most people will vote for him and her,” Rosa said.

That's because Meek could help turn out African-American democrats who normally wouldn't vote. In fact, our poll finds 61 percent of African-Americans are backing Meek - compare that to the 19 percent he's getting from the electorate as a whole.

The way the theory goes – a vote for Meek is also a vote for every other democrat running for office.

In the midst of what many expect to be a republican wave election, you might think of this as a mini-democratic wave, and in tight races up and down the ballot, it could be enough to eke out a win.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink stands to benefit the most. She's in a neck-and-neck contest with republican Rick Scott. Democratic State Representative Alan Williams compares Meek to Barack Obama two years ago, and he has a prediction.

“That folks will find that same emotional tie,” Rep. Williams said. “They'll not only vote for Congressman Meek to be our next United States senator, but will also vote for Alex Sink, make history once again and send a woman for the first time to the Governor's Mansion, and then also vote down the ticket.”

In the end, even that may not be enough to overcome the enthusiasm gap between republicans and democrats, but at the very least, having Meek on the ballot could help narrow that divide.

Political strategists say Meek's candidacy could also boost the chances of local candidates engaged in tough races.

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