Top Democratic strategists are abandoning their party’s frontrunner in the Florida Senate race in favor of Independent Charlie Crist, who bolted the Republican Party over the state party’s rightward lurch toward the Tea Party.
SKDKnickerbocker, a leading Democratic political strategy and communications firm, has agreed to work on Crist’s up-hill campaign as an independent for the U.S. Senate.
The decision will be widely viewed as a slap at Democratic frontrunner Rep. Kendrick Meek, who is trailing badly in the polls and many Democrats believe is hopeless for winning in November.
Making it all the more ominous for Meek is that SKDKnickerbocker is helmed by Anita Dunn, who most recently served as senior advisor to President Obama and is one of the administration’s most valued political operators outside the White House.
One Democrat familiar with the situation tamped down the notion that Democrats and the White House are walking away from Meek, pointing out that N.Y. strategist Josh Isay, and not Dunn, will be working on the campaign.
But said another Democrat: “They never would have signed on to the Crist campaign unless it was OK at the highest levels.”