U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek has been walking around Florida like Forrest Gump trying to drum up support for his run at the Senate. He calls it a grassroots campaign. Meek must be referring to the roots of the tobacco plant.
Meek has received nearly $31,000 in campaign contributions from tobacco companies in the first three months, the most of any congressional candidate so far, says the Center for Responsive Politics.
Meek doesn't seem to fit the mold of what many would think a tobacco senator would look like (picture an old, white guy with ties to ranchers in a tobacco-rich state). But look a little deeper and you'll see Meek is quite the cigar aficionado. Since he joined Congress in 2002, Meek has hosted a cigar party and can often be seen with a stogy in his mouth on the western balcony of the capitol in DC.
And he has fought to keep taxes low on the cigar industry, which gains him major points with businesses in Florida, where cigar making is a family tradition.
Now, Meek is hoping the financial help from the tobacco industry will help him smoke the competition.