Florida Rep. Kendrick Meek’s In The Hot Seat

By Jamilah King May 20, 2010

It’s been a rough week for Democrats. Tuesday’s primary Congressional elections showed just how fragile the party’s standing is in many states. Now there’s news that Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Black candidate who’s one of the party’s key players in Florida’s hotly contested Senate race, is embroiled in a shady real estate scandal. A Miami Herald investigation uncovered that Meek may have sought earmarks for developer Dennis Stackhouse in the doomed Poinciana Park project that developers said would revitalize the impoverished Liberty City community. Even more unsettling was news that Stackhouse paid Meek’s chief of staff $13,000 to purchase a house and also paid Meek’s mother, former Rep. Carrie Meek’s, $90,000 in consulting fees and offered her access to luxury cars on the developer’s dime. Stackhouse is currently awaiting trial on charges that he stole nearly $1 million from the project. Meeks denies any wrongdoing, but the news is sure to put a damper on his already fading hopes to win Florida’s coveted Senate nod. He’s currently in a three way battle for the seat against Florida governor Charles Crist, who’s running as an Independent, and conservative Cuban-American golden child Marco Rubio, who’s running on the Republican ticket. Progressives were hoping that Crist’s decision to run as an Independent would split the conservative vote and work to Meek’s advantage. A recent poll showed Rubio with 39 percent of the vote over Crist’s 31 percent, while Meek’s trailed with 18 percent of the vote.