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Florida: Meek Will Announce His Senate Bid Today

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) is expected to announce today that he will run for Senate in 2010, becoming the first official entrant into the race to succeed retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R). The Associated Press reported Monday that Meek is entering the race, citing sources close to the Congressman.

Many Democratic insiders are waiting to see whether Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (D) will get into the race. But Meek apparently isn’t holding up his plans for that decision and will make his announcement at a news conference in Miami.

Meek, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is serving his fourth term in the House. First elected in 2002, he succeeded his mother, former Rep. Carrie Meek (D). If he wins, he would be the first African-American elected to statewide office in the Sunshine State.

Other potential Democratic candidates include Reps. Allen Boyd and Ron Klein. Potential Republican contenders include Reps. Vern Buchanan, Mario Diaz-Balart and Connie Mack IV, former state Speakers Allan Bense and Marco Rubio, and state Attorney General Bill McCollum.

Conservative Takes the Long View on Grayson

Conservative activist Todd Long, whose Republican primary challenge last year helped soften up then-Rep. Ric Keller (R) for now-Rep. Alan Grayson’s (D) upset victory in November, told the Orlando Sentinel this week that he would run for the 8th district seat again in 2010.

“We were so encouraged by the people’s response to our conservative solutions to our nation’s challenges,” Long told the newspaper. “When you are a not a career politician and do not get special interest money, it takes a while for everyone to hear your message.”

Running from the right, Long came close to ousting Keller in the GOP primary last year, a signal that Keller would be vulnerable in the general election.

Republicans are certain to come after Grayson in 2010, though the Central Florida district is changing rapidly, and it may prove to be less hospitable for the GOP than it has been in the past. Although Long is the first Republican candidate out of the box, he may not be the last: Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty and former state Sen. Dan Webster are also mentioned as possible GOP candidates.

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