Florida Congressman Kentrick Meek (D) will run to succeed Republican Senator Mel Martinez (R):
Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who led the effort to put class-size limits in the state constitution, plans to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, sources close to Meek say.
Meek would be the first major candidate to jump into the 2010 race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Mel Martinez. He plans to make the announcement at his Miami home.
Meek, 42, is beginning his fourth term in Congress. He sits on the powerful Ways & Means Committee, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. He served on the Armed Services Committee his first three terms. He also has a close relationship with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House leaders.
Meek’s announcement will likely be quickly followed by other candidates. Democrats considering a run include state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd and state Sen. Dan Gelber. Gelber is likely to announce plans to run late next week.
MyDD has more about Meek’s voting record:
Kendrick Meek’s voting record, according to Progressive Punch, puts him towards the middle of the House Democratic caucus, perhaps slightly to the right of center. Recently, Meek backed the more conservative John Dingell over the more progressive Henry Waxman in the battle over who would next chair the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, though that vote can in part be read as supportive of the seniority system rather than an ideological move. Looking at a couple more votes that garnered the attention of the netroots, Meek voted in favor of the 2007 Iraq War supplemental, putting him among a minority of House Democrats, but against FISA.
Meek isn’t as progressive as I would like, but he’s a fine enough Congressman and I’m sure he’d make a fine Senator.
Plus, since we don’t know who the candidates will be or what Florida’s political landscape will look like in 2010, it’s hard to judge who would be a better candidate than who. But there is definitely a pickup opportunity here, so I hope Florida Democrats play their cards right in the coming months.
And then there’s this:
If elected, Meek would be one of a small number of African-Americans in the Senate come 2011; upon his swearing-in, Roland Burris will be the only one in the 111th Congress.
Meek would also be the first African-American Senator from a Southern state since Reconstruction.