Florida Democrats expect Senate debate to turn personal

The candidates in Florida's Democratic Senate primary will meet Tuesday for their first debate of the race. The stakes are high for Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), who is staring down self-funding billionaire Jeff Greene for the Democratic nomination.

With Greene's heavy spending on TV ads, including running an ad in the Washington media market, a Quinnipiac poll has him just two points behind Meek. But the poll also showed that name recognition for the two candidates was abysmally low — a full 37 percent of voters were undecided.

It makes Tuesday's debate all-important for Meek, who is trying to define Greene before the self-funder's spending really kicks in and deflect electability concerns that have arisen about his own candidacy in Democratic circles.

In an e-mail memo Tuesday morning, the Meek campaign laid out its line of attack. The e-mail labels Greene "a Wall Street billionaire," hits Greene for not releasing his tax returns and attacks the candidate's comments about his investment in so-called credit default swaps.

The debate comes after the release of a new general-election poll showing Independent candidate Charlie Crist with a double-digit lead in a three-way race with Republican Marco Rubio and Meek. The Florida Chamber of Commerce poll had Crist out in front with 42 percent to Rubio's 31. Meek was in third place with just 14 percent of the vote.

The primary is August 24.