Who Will Drop Out First: Dan Gelber or Kendrick Meek?

The unfortunate working assumption amongst just about everyone right now is that Dan Gelber or Kendrick Meek is going to lose to Charlie Crist in 2010. The only question is "which one?"

Naked Politics is reporting that the Democratic National Senatorial Committee is whispering in Gelber's ear that he should drop out, and leave the field wide open for front-runner Kendrick Meek. Gelber himself meanwhile might be tempted to redirect his efforts to the Attorney General race, that will probably be left wide open if/when Bill McCullom announces his intentions to run for Governor. 

So Meek will be stuck being the contender against Crist, the problem is he has a hell of a lot more to lose. 

Meek's career so far has been the stuff high ranking House leaders are made of. He has a ridiculously safe seat in a strongly Dem leaning district. He's relatively uncontroversial, and he is already quite friendly with speaker Nancy Pelosi. Resigning now would put a definite kink in that possible future. Sure, he could run again for his seat in 2012 and more than likely defeat whoever holds it, but he'd loose his seniority and have to sit around for two years. So Meek has a lot more to lose besides just the race. Plus, one has to wonder how strong of a contender Meek would be against Crist either way. If the Dems have a chance at winning, is it really Meek? Enough of a chance that he should make a potential risky career move? 

Meanwhile, Gelber is a state Senator who faces eventual term limits. A run as AG would certainly pad his resumé, but being a sacrificial lamb in a senate race isn't such a raw deal. Charlie Crist found himself in that spot in 1998, running against the widely popular incumbent, Bob Graham. He may have lost by a totally embarrassing 26 points, but he gained experience and name recognition as a statewide candidate, and parlayed that into a string of successful state-wide wins: first as education commissioner, than as AG, Governor, and more than likely as Senator. 

Not every loser becomes a winner, but some lose a lot more than others. 

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Kyle Munzenrieder