Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reiterated his support Tuesday for Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) in his bid to be the Sunshine State’s next Senator after a Wall Street Journal story suggested that Reid might back Gov. Charlie Crist (I).
The story indicated that Reid has been in discussions with Crist, a Republican until just a few months ago, about joining the Democratic caucus should he win the open Senate seat in November. But Reid, during a news conference Tuesday, did his best to bat down that rumor.
“You must be reading someone’s mail other than mine. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Reid said in response to a reporter’s question on the subject. “Kendrick Meek is someone I’ve supported; I’ve given him money.”
Reid’s comments came within an hour of the Democrats’ weekly caucus lunch, which Meek attended as a guest.
Meek has been running a distant third in most public opinion polls to Crist and former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R), and Meek’s viability in the general election has been questioned. Meek is also contending for the Democratic nomination against billionaire real estate magnate Jeff Greene.
Meanwhile, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) said he expects the Nov. 2 special election for the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-W.Va.) seat to be competitive.
Sen. Carte Goodwin (D) was sworn in as Byrd’s successor on Tuesday but plans to fill the seat only until the special election. Popular West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) is running, and Cornyn is attempting to recruit a top-tier Republican to face him. Goodwin is Manchin’s former general counsel.
Cornyn said he has spoken to his first choice, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), about running, and that he is reaching out to other potential candidates. Capito has yet to decide if she will run, although a state law was passed that would enable her to engage in an unusual, simultaneous campaign for both her current House seat and the Senate.
“I’m not sure what her decision’s going to be,” Cornyn said. “She’s certainly a popular Member of the House and obviously I think she is more aligned with West Virginia values and attitudes than the governor is on these federal issues, even though he’s a popular state governor.”
“This thing will clarify here in the next few days,” Cornyn added. “There’s more than one candidate who I think could be competitive.”