Rich “Populists” Surge Ahead in Florida

Florida's US Senate hopeful—and billionaire—Jeff Greene.

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Florida candidate Jeff Greene might succeed in buying the Democratic nomination for US Senate after all. A new Quinnipiac poll out today shows Greene leading his Democratic opponent, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), by 10 percentage points, at 33 percent to 23 percent. Notable, though, is the fact that while most Floridians with their minds made up back Greene, the majority of those polled—35 percent—are undecided. Their support is up for grabs between now and the August 10 primary, and they will likely decide Florida’s primary.

Florida’s other wealthy dark horse candidate, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, has likewise jumped out ahead of his opponent, state attorney general Bill McCollum. Scott leads McCollum 43 percent to 32 percent, with 23 percent undecided, the Quinnipiac poll found.

The takeaway here: “If there was any doubt that enough money can make a political unknown into a front-runner, the Democratic Senate primary and the Republican primary for governor should lay them to rest,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Both Greene and Scott have come from nowhere to hold double-digit leads with just a little more than three weeks until the voting.”

Talking with reporters yesterday, Meek, whose Senate bid has mostly floundered so far, bashed Greene for his profligate spending and vast array of investments and financial holdings. After delays, Greene filed his financial disclosure forms earlier this week, showing holdings topping $50 million in US Treasury bonds, scores of real estate holdings, and even investments in Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos De Venezuela. Meek also suggested that, should Greene beat him in the primary, he wouldn’t support the Democrat in the general election. As Meek saw it, a general election pitting Greene, Crist, and Rubio would be a race “of three Republican candidates.”

Read billionaire Jeff Greene’s long-awaited financial disclosure filing here:

Jeff Greene Financial Disclosure Filing

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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