The Truth-O-Meter Says:
Meek

Democratic candidate Jeff Greene "ran for Congress as a California Republican."

Kendrick Meek on Monday, July 26th, 2010 in a television ad

Jeff Greene ran as a Republican -- 28 years ago

Congressman Kendrick Meek attacked his Democratic opponent Jeff Greene in a new political ad set to a disco beat.

The ad, called "He's the Man," is Meek's first TV attack on Greene in their U.S. Senate race. The narration goes like this:

"Meet the real Jeff Greene: Ran for Congress as a California Republican. Moved to Florida two years ago. Became a billionaire on Wall Street betting middle-class families would lose their homes. Helped fuel the economic meltdown. Warren Buffet called Greene's scheme 'financial weapons of mass destruction.'"

The ad then shows footage of Greene saying, "They'll attack me for my friends and my past when I was single. Some of it's true, but none of it matters."

"Betting on suffering does matter," the narrator responds.

We previously fact-checked similar claims from Meek that Greene was responsible for hurting the economy. We looked at Meek's statement that Greene "is the king of the undercover Credit Default Swap that brought about the destruction of our economy that we have right now." We rated that Barely True. We researched Greene's activities thoroughly, and found that Greene did make a lot of money on credit default swaps that paid off when mortgage-backed securities failed. But we also found that Meek was pumping up Greene's role in a complicated economic situation where many different financial players did things to hurt the economy. (Read the full report.)

We also fact-checked the claim that Greene moved here only two years ago. We rated that True.

Here, we're checking Meek's claim that Greene ran for Congress as a California Republican.

The history here dates back to 1982. Greene was 28 years old and living in California. He ran as a Republican for Congress, for a seat representing the Los Angeles area. But he came in second in the primary with 28.2 percent of the vote. The winner was David Armor, who won 43.9 percent.

The Miami Herald recently tracked down Armor, who was then a 43-year-old social scientist; now he's a professor of public policy at George Mason University in Virginia. Armor won the primary but lost the general election to then-incumbent Democrat Anthony Beilenson.

Armor's recollection is that Greene put out a flier attacking him as an "aging Berkeley radical," based on Armor's time as a student activist at University of California at Berkeley.

"It was a hit piece claiming I was a deceiving the people,'' Armor told the Herald. "Being in my 40s, I think I was more offended at being called 'aging' than a 'radical.' "

Greene doesn't dispute that he ran for Congress as a Republican. "For a year of my life I was a Republican, and then I quickly got back to what I really believed in,'' he told the Herald in June.

What's not clear is how long Greene stayed a Republican. PolitiFact Florida examined Greene's voting history last month, contacting voting officials around the country. The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk told us that Greene registered as a Republican with an address in the city of Los Angeles in 1982. In 1992, he re-registered with an address in Malibu with a party affiliation of "Decline to State." If Greene changed his party affiliation shortly after the 1982 run, officials were unable to provide documentation of that.

Still, the record on Greene's run for Congress as a Republican is undisputed. It was 1982, which was 28 years ago. We rate Meek's statement True.

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About this statement:

Published: Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 at 5:21 p.m.

Subjects: Candidate Biography, Elections, Message Machine 2010

Sources:

Kendrick Meek Campaign, He's the Man, July 26, 2010

Los Angeles County election returns, District 23, June 8, 1982 (pdf, page 115)

PolitiFact Florida, Meek says Greene only voted four times, June 29, 2010

The Miami Herald, In an earlier life, Democrat Jeff Greene ran as a Republican, June 18, 2010

Palm Beach Post, Palm Beach billionaire and Democratic Senate candidate was once a Republican, June 1, 2010

Written by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Researched by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Edited by: John Bartosek

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