YES, THINGS CAN GET NUTTIER IN FLORIDA…. As of yesterday, the Senate race in Florida was strange enough. Gov. Charlie Crist bolted from the Republican primary, setting up a highly-entertaining three-way contest between the sitting governor, a right-wing former state House Speaker, and a relatively unknown Miami-area congressman.
But wait, there’s more.
And you thought Florida’s topsy-turvy election year couldn’t get crazier. Now comes billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene of Palm Beach, a Democrat, jumping into Florida’s already chaotic U.S. Senate race.
“I am an outsider, the only candidate who isn’t a career politician. I’ve succeeded in the real world of hard work — the others have only succeeded at running for political office after office,” said Greene, 55, in a video announcing his candidacy.
Greene said he will refuse campaign contributions from special interests, and will limit individual donations to $100. That should be no giant sacrifice considering that Forbes last year estimated his net worth at $1.25-billion.
Greene will face Rep. Kendrick Meek in a Democratic primary, and will likely “saturate Florida TV with commercials [that] could make him a major contender.”
In general, the national party would ordinarily be delighted to have a self-financing billionaire jump into a wide-open Senate race. There are, however, a few issues with Greene’s colorful background. For one thing, he was a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in California in the 1980s. For another, Mike Tyson was the best man at Greene’s 2008 wedding and Heidi Fleiss lived in his guest house after she was released from prison.
Oh, and there’s also the small matter of Greene getting rich by “betting on the housing collapse that killed Florida’s economy.”
Nevertheless, Greene appears to be completely serious about the campaign, and has already received advice from Joe Trippi and Doug Schoen.
It’s Florida, so expect the unexpected.