Transcript of Victory Speech
First of all, I just want to thank God for this victory. I’m truly humbled by the people’s goodwill in this great state of Florida. I want to thank all of Florida for beliving, not only in my candidacy, but putting me on the ballot by signature — the first time in the history of this state.
I want to thank everyone that works every day. I want to thank those school bus drivers that I greeted this morning at 4:30 a.m. That know what it means to live paycheck to paycheck. I want to thank them first.
I want to thank our seniors who went out and voted and cast their ballot at 7 a.m. looking for representation. I want to thank all of those individuals, those first time voters, that voted in the last election for the first time that voted in this primary.
I want to thank President Obama. I want to thank President Clinton for coming down and supporting us. Bill Nelson and Alex Sink, who is going to be our next governor of the state of Florida.
To the campaign, to all the volunteers to all the people who kept believing. For all the people when times got rough in this campaign, there were those who counted us out, but you counted us in. Thank you for doing that.
I want to thank my family — my wife, Leslie Meek, my daughter Lauren, my son Kendrick, and my mother, U.S. Congresswoman Carrie Meek.
Ladies and Gentlemen, there are friends that are part of organized labor throughout this state who worked very, very hard. I want to thank them.
I want to be short tonight, because we have so much work to do. There are so many Floridians that are counting on a real leader to be the next United States senator and tonight we’re moving forward.
I always said that I was the David in this race and that if we just kept the faith, and we kept marching on and we kept knocking on doors and we kept making phone calls and we kept putting out yard signs and we kept putting bumper stickers on the back of cars and if we kept listening — if we just kept listening — that we would be victorious on this night and I want to thank every Floridian that cast a ballot in this primary election to make me the Democratic nominee and eventually the next senator from the state of Florida.
I made the case that I am the real Democrat in this race. I also made the case that I have the will and the desire and the energy to pull a double shift to get Florida back to work, to make sure that people have health care, to make sure we protect our environment.
Now ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry I had to keep you down here waiting for a little while because I had to talk to Maurice Ferre. I want to thank him for a great campaign. He called and wished us well as we continue to move on. I had an opportunity to speak with Jeff Greene. Jeff Greene gave us his blessings and that he looks forward to campaigning with us and I want to thank him for that phone call.
One thing that we have to keep in mind, ladies and gentlmen, that this election is not about those that are running for office, it’s about the people of this state and we have to continue to keep that focus for people that are in rural Florida or those that are in urban Florida. All the way from Northwest Florida, Northeast Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, Southwest Florida, Southeast Florida will be represented all the way down to the southernmost point of Key West, ladies and gentlemen, I am here, I am prepared to work for every vote in the state of Florida be it Democrat, Republican or Independent because I know what it means to punch in and punch out every day.
I think if we learned anything in this campaign, it’s that the people of this state had the opportunity to see the muddiness of politics. Well let me tell you something, ladies and gentlemen, when you are dealing with the muddiness of life, you can count on me. I will not bail out on you, I will not leave you behind and I will not start changing on you when you need me because the people of the state of Florida stood with me tonight, ladies and gentlemen, through 26 million plus dollars being spent against us. We made history in this state because the state of Florida wass not for sale, will not be for sale and we will stand up and continue this effort.
Now let’s talk about the business.
I want to mention a few things because I want you to leave here and I want you to know what we stand for. Now this election is going to be about where the candidates stand. I am running against two conservative candidates for the United States senate that have similar records. I think it’s very important that everyone here in this room know by electing me to be your next United States senator, I will be the only candidate in this race that was against offshore oil drilling before and after the spill and will make sure to protect Florida’s environment.
I will be the only candidate, ladies and gentlemen, the only Democratic candidate, ladies and gentlmen, that has always, consistently been against the privatization of Social Security.
I will be the only candidate, ladies and gentlemen, that stood in their for Justice Sotomayor. When she was up for her nomination, I stood up and said that she was the right selection and that she would be an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.
I am the only candidate, and will be the only candidate, that will stand up for a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.
I will be the only candidate, ladies and gentlemen, that fought, legislated and will continue to work for comprehensive health care for every American and every Floridian.
I will be the only candidate, ladies and gentlemen, that’s willing to pull back on the top 1% of the Bush tax cuts and give more tax cuts to the middle class and small businesses.
And when you make me your next United States senator, I will stand up to make sure that you continue to see what you’re seeing now — our men and women coming back home to their families from Iraq and Afghanistan. It is important to military families that we reuinite them and continue to hunt for those that harmed our country.
I think it’s also important, ladies and gentlemen, to know that anything that came out of this primary — it showed that this campaign has the strength, the integrity, the will and the desire to win this office. And I may not beat Goliath before November 2, but when November 2 gets here, ladies and gentlement, I’m going to still going to be comfortable playing David, because we know when the polls close, ladies and gentlemen, in the great state of Florida, on November 2, that I will be the next Senator from this state.
I want you to know that my campaign is based on the struggle of Floridians. My campaign is based on making sure that children have someone who is going to fight for them.
And I think what helped Floridians make a decision in this election was the fact that I had a real Florida story. I grew up in here Florida. My mother was born here in Florida. My children born here in Florida. Grew up in the public school system. Diagnosed with dyslexia in the third grade. Kept plowing on. Single mother, three children, divorced twice, worked at the junior college, said she wanted to represent her community. That’s where I come from.
Attended Florida A&M University. Became a state trooper. Changed car tires in this state. Did the things I had to do to understand the needs of people. Served as a skycap at the airport, service worker in this state. Went on to serve this state in the state legislature, went on to serve this state in Congress. Some people call it career politicians, I call it public service.
So Florida, as we march on, as we continue to knock on doors, as we continue to listen, as we continue to count all 67 counties in, we will win in November. And when you leave here tonight, I want you to know that hope marches on. Believe isn’t just a slogan. And the dream endures. Thank you so very much Florida.
God bless you. Thank you. I love you. I’d love, Florida, to be your next United States senator. God bless America
Campaign Strategy Memo
From: Abe Dyk, Campaign Manager
To: Interested Parties
Date: August 25, 2010
Re: General Election
Yesterday, Kendrick Meek earned the right to face two lifelong conservatives in Florida’s U.S. Senate race. Millions spent on negative attacks did not stop everyday people from casting their ballots for Kendrick. He won on the strength of his character, his grassroots supporters, and his ideas – not his checkbook. Kendrick proved that he can never be counted out against a better-funded opponent even in the general election.
MEEK HAS THE MOMENTUM
Kendrick being outspent seven-to-one once Jeff Greene got into the race could not match the grassroots engine that has fueled his campaign. The same people that went to work to put Kendrick on the ballot by petition – unprecedented for a statewide candidate in Florida – took him over the finish line in the primary.
Oftentimes after winning primaries, candidates need to shift their message and run a different campaign in the general election. However, Kendrick is not going to shift his message at all. In a three-way race, Kendrick is still the only Real Democrat, and the only candidate willing to fight for the middle class against the special interests.
In Florida, where Democratic registrations outpace Republicans by more than 600,000, and independents are likely to make up 18% of the electorate, this race will be won by turning out the same Democratic base that just entrusted Kendrick with the party’s nomination.
President Obama remains extremely popular with Democrats – 84% job approval in the latest Quinnipiac poll – and Kendrick is the only candidate willing to stand with Obama to get Americans back to work, invest in future generations, and get Florida moving forward. President Obama has, in turn, committed to electing Kendrick as Florida’s next U.S. Senator, as has President Bill Clinton.
Kendrick has the support of the state party apparatus, and unlike the Republican establishment that spent all of its funds bolstering Attorney General Bill McCollum’s gubernatorial bid, the Democratic Party has the resources to compete statewide. Conversely, Crist has no party apparatus, having abandoned the Republican Party – but not his conservative values – for political gain.
Floridians – especially Democrats in Florida – know exactly what they are going to get by voting for Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate.
CRIST CANNOT WIN
The math does not add up for Florida’s elected Republican Governor.
With universal name recognition, Charlie Crist abandoned his Republican primary fight against Marco Rubio. Only 39% of Democrats supported Crist at a time when Kendrick was completely unknown beyond his district, a number that will be a high-water mark for him running against a Real Democrat.
With Republicans coalescing around a Tea Party candidate, and Democrats with Kendrick, the math does not exist to elect Charlie Crist. With an expected turnout of 43% Democrats and 40% Republicans, Kendrick needs to win 75% of registered Democrats and just 17% of the registered Independent vote to secure 35% of the vote total. 35%-40% is all that is needed to win in a three-way race.
The apparent strength that Crist is currently registering in the polls will not last. Even with all the Independents, Crist cannot win without getting more than 30% of Democrats and Republicans, and it is unlikely either group will support him as he twists and turns his positions over the next 10 weeks. The Charlie Crist sideshow does not have enough of the electorate to result in a victory, and with no state party apparatus, it is only a matter of time before Crist’s campaign begins limping towards the finish line. There are no runoffs in Florida elections, and for Charlie Crist, there may not be any more chances either.
He could not stand up against Rubio, and he will never be able to stand up for Floridians as a U.S. Senator.
THE REAL CHOICE: MEEK OR RUBIO
Once Crist collapses, voters will have a choice between Kendrick Meek and Marco Rubio.
Kendrick is the only candidate who fought against privatizing Social Security and high credit card fees. He is the only candidate who supports a woman’s right to choose and equal pay for equal work. He is the only candidate who will fight to cut taxes for the middle class and seek to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans and corporate special interests.
Kendrick won the primary because he is the only candidate that will work for everyday people. He’s done it his entire career. Floridians know they can count on Kendrick, and they are poised to elect another Democrat to the U.S. Senate.