Florida's October surprise: Clinton urged Meek to exit Senate race
Democrat Kendrick Meek says he'll stay in the three-way Florida Senate race, but the Clinton-Meek saga is a PR nightmare for the party.
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Though conservative, Rubio has not always followed the conservative hard line on immigration matters, leaving some Florida tea partyers less-than-thrilled with his candidacy. But for a Republican Party working hard to attract Latino votes, Rubio is gold.Skip to next paragraph
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Just four days before the midterm elections, the Meek-Clinton story is a PR nightmare. Meek is the Democrats’ only competitive African-American Senate candidate, and the party can ill afford to discourage black voters – both in Florida and nationally. In Florida’s tight governor's race, Democrat Alex Sink needs the Democratic base to turn out in force, including African-Americans, to defeat Republican Rick Scott.
In addition, many Floridians have already voted, presumably some for Meek. By last week, it may have been too late for a Meek departure to swing the race to Crist.
The Clinton-Meek saga is the latest in a series of failed, and sometimes embarrassing, attempts by top Democrats to engineer Senate races this fall. The Obama White House recruited former President Clinton to try to get Rep. Joe Sestak (D) not to run against Sen. Arlen Specter (D) in the Pennsylvania Senate primary, reportedly sweetening the deal with a job offer to Congressman Sestak. It didn’t work; Sestak ended up beating Senator Specter.
The White House also tried to keep former speaker of the Colorado House Andrew Romanoff from running against appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in that state’s Democratic primary. Mr. Romanoff was reportedly offered a job in the administration not to run. He ran anyway and lost. Obama himself tried to recruit popular Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to run for his old Senate seat, but she declined. Now Mr. Obama’s seat is in danger of going Republican.
White House officials have been quoted as saying the White House did not initiate the effort to get Meek to drop out, but they have acknowledged they were aware of what was happening.