In the Florida Senate Democratic primary, billionaire partyboy Jeff Greene and Congressman Kendrick Meek are neck and neck in the polls. Here's a story from the St. Petersburg Times's Adam Smith that shows why Meek, whatever his own faults, is a stronger candidate than Greene:
The photos tell the story: Greene walking the beach in St. Tropez, France, with his pal Mike Tyson and a bevy of bikini-clad women; Greene and Tyson boogying in a smoky club surrounded by young women; a group of women in Romania boarding Greene's 145-foot yacht, the Summerwind, at night; Greene and Tyson visiting an 11th century monastery in Ukraine.
Nobody batted an eye when a 2009 book, The Greatest Trade Ever, mentioned Greene's Black Sea yachting adventure that summer:
"Greene brought two Ukrainian strippers on board to make a cameo appearance and hired stewardesses from coastal towns to serve as his crew. Some doubled as massage therapists, which came in handy after a day of scuba diving, Jet Skiing or kayaking," wrote Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman.
After Greene, 55, suddenly jumped into Florida's Democratic U.S. Senate primary in April, however, people inquired about that vignette.
"Jeff was traveling on his boat with his rabbi and his younger brother to visit Jewish sites in Romania and Odessa," a campaign spokesman said in May, denying the stripper story.
Lots more colorful details from Mike Tyson in the story on a cocaine-fueled sex party later in the trip in Amsterdam (Greene says he wasn't there, though his staffers on the yacht allege pretty wild behavior occurred aboard the ship). "I care too much about my country to spend all my time talking about a yacht and Mike Tyson. Nobody cares about that except you," Greene tells the St. Pete Times.
Kendrick Meek says he cares and so do Florida voters.
"Everyone knows the Mike Tyson story, and it goes toward Jeff Greene's judgment,'' said Meek, 43. "He wants to select a convicted rapist to be his best man and he wants to parade around with him."
It's enough to make one speculate that Greene came out of nowhere and entered the race on April 30 just to defeat a serious Democrat, thereby helping Charlie Crist, who announced his independent run on April 29, become the de facto Democratic nominee.
But, for the record, no one has uncovered a smoking gun linking Greene to Crist. The Florida primary is August 24.