by David Chapman
In the contentious three-way battle to become the next Florida U.S. Senator, Republican Marco Rubio easily defeated Independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek.
Rubio, a former speaker of the Florida House, received 49 percent of the vote, close to the combined total of Crist and Meek. Crist received 30 percent, Meek 20 percent.
Rubio will succeed U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, a Republican appointed to the post by Crist following the resignation of Mel Martinez.
According to the News Service of Florida, Rubio ran as a fiscal conservative who will fight against Obama’s policies and was a Tea Party favorite. Crist quit the GOP primary when it became apparent he would lose to Rubio.
The News Service said that while running as an independent, Crist clearly staked out Democratic positions, posing himself as an alternative to Rubio with a legitimate chance to win, unlike, he said, Meek.
Meek left a safe U.S. House seat for the run and was in third place in most polls for much of the race. Then Crist began telling Democrats they should go with him if they wanted to keep Rubio out of Congress.
The News Service reported that the race got heated, but both Crist and Meek offered gracious concessions early in the evening Tuesday, Rubio said.
Rubio said he wanted to return the GOP to promises it has made to control spending and lower taxes.