Meek to make Florida history on Monday

Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) will make Florida history on Monday when he and his wife deliver more than 130,000 signed petitions to state election officials, securing his place on this year's Senate ballot.

No other statewide candidate has entered a race in that manner, as most instead choose to pay the roughly $10,000 entry fee to appear on the ballot, Meek told the Miami Herald this week.

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But the Miami congressman has nonetheless remained determined for almost a year now to enter Florida's already tough Senate race by petition, in part to increase his visibility and create contrast with Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and state Speaker Marco Rubio -- two Republican candidates still slugging it out in a vicious, hard-fought primary.

Meek only needed 112,476 signatures to make the 2010 ballot, though the congressman told the newspaper he expects to deliver more than 130,000 on Monday.

"I thought it was very, very important that the people of the state of Florida place my name on the ballot to be the next U.S. senator,'' Meek told reporters in advance of Monday's event. "And I thought it was important for me to listen to the needs of Florida, from Escambia County to Monroe County."

"I knew it would make me a better candidate and a better senator," he added.