Meek’s Free Ads

  Kendrick Meek’s nascent candidacy for US Senate in 2010 is getting a hefty on-air boost from a couple of DC-based national advocacy groups, both lauding him for his vote to expand the SCHIP children’s health coverage program.  The 30-second spots, paid for by “America’s Agenda: Health Care for Kids” and “Families USA”, have been airing over the last couple of weeks in the Miami-Fort Lauderale market. 

   The ads aren’t endorsements, of course.  They have that squishy language of the so-called “527” advocacy groups: “Call Congressman Meek and thank him for standing up for our kids.” 

  A spokesman for both 527’s  say only 3 Florida Democratic Congressmen are getting these televised pats on the back from her group– Meek, freshman Rep. Alan Grayson from the Orlando area, and Rep. Allen Boyd, from the Panhandle.  In all, 14 FL Representatives voted for the SCHIP expansion– all 10 Dems, and 4 Republicans (South Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers, among them).

  Why are SCHIP advocates buying ad time after the fact? The America’s Agenda folks say there will be further votes on expanding government-backed health coverage, and they want to reward their staunch Congressional allies with laudatory ads.  The PR folks for both groups insist Meek was not chosen because he’s running for Senate.  Maybe, but it sure doesn’t hurt that these ads are airing in counties that are home to about a quarter of Florida’s 4.7 million Democrats.

   And both 527’s get major financial backing by the Service Employees International Union.  SEIU just happens to be the first major union to have made an endorsement in the 2010 Senate race.  Yep, they’re backing Meek.

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