The wait is over: Kendrick Meek just fired his first return volley of the Democratic primary — a race that until now had been dominated by billionaire investor Jeff Greene’s millions in television ad spending. Befitting the nature of the increasingly nasty Democratic fight, Meek’s first spot is an attack ad, smacking Greene hard for making money betting on the downturn in the housing market.
Meek’s ad hits the airwaves just as signs have begun to show that Greene’s multimillion-dollar ad campaign — which has targeted Meek with negative attacks as well as sought to build Greene’s own name ID — has struggled to knock Meek out of the primary fight, despite Meek’s lack of advertising and extremely low name ID.
The Meek campaign has touted a PPP (D) poll released last week that showed, despite Greene’s spending (he even ran an ad in the Washington, DC media market attacking Meek for a time), that Meek still has a slim lead despite having not spent a dime on TV advertising so far. What’s more, the poll shows Greene with a negative approval rating among Florida’s voters, who he’s been free to bombard with ads for months.
Meek’s team says the story of Greene’s billions — which he made on the housing market while others were losing their shirts — is the reason Greene hasn’t done better despite fighting a one-sided air war all summer.
“Our campaign has no choice but to fight back to make sure Floridians know how Greene made the money he is using to launch false and misleading television attacks,” Meek campaign manager Abe Dyk wrote in a memo to reporters today. “Jeff Greene became a billionaire off the backs of middle-class, hard working Floridians and played an integral role in contributing to the economic meltdown that has affected the lives of every Floridian.”
The ad certainly pulls no punches, accusing Greene of getting rich by “betting on suffering.”
But the central test for Meek still remains November, where it was before Greene got in and where it will stay if Meek beats the newcomer in the August 24 primary. Neither Democratic candidate is performing well in the three-way Senate race, which is dominated by Republican Marco Rubio and Independent Charlie Crist.
Watch the ad: