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October 29, 2010 / J. Shaw

Bill Clinton Urged Meek to Quit Fla. Senate Race

Former President Bill Clinton tried last week to get Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek to quit the U.S. Senate race in Florida and endorse Gov. Charlie Crist’s independent bid, Politico reported Thursday, adding that the effort nearly succeeded.

Politico reported that during Clinton’s trip to Florida, Meek agreed twice to drop out of the race to help Democrats defeat the Republican nominee, Tea Party loyalist Marco Rubio, but Meek eventually changed his mind.

The premise was that if Meek’s followers threw their support behind Crist, the former Republican likely would defeat Rubio.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows Rubio’s lead is shrinking in the final days of the race. Rubio has 42 percent of the vote to Crist’s 35 percent and Meek’s 15 percent in their three-way contest. Rubio led Crist by a margin of 44 percent to 30 percent two weeks ago.

Meek’s campaign denied he ever considered throwing in the towel

“The article is not true. Kendrick Meek was never dropping out of this race, is never dropping out of this race and will never drop out of this race,” Meek campaign manager Abe Dyk said in a written statement. “Kendrick is the Democratic nominee, so if anyone should drop out, it’s Charlie Crist,” he added.

But Crist confirmed the report in an interview Thursday night with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, saying he had discussed the matter with Meek.

“Those conversations did take place,” Crist said, asserting that Meek initially had agreed to quit, to “do what was right … stop a right-wing radical, if you will, from getting elected to the U.S. Senate.”

As for Rubio, his campaign described it as “politics as usual.”



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