Bill Clinton Tried to Get Meek to Drop Out
Friday, 29 October 2010 16:23
Former President Bill Clinton last week tried to convince Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Florida, to drop out of the race – but Mr. Meek changed his mind at the last minute, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton said Thursday evening.

Matt McKenna, Mr. Clinton’s spokesman, said the former president believed that Mr. Meek would not win on Tuesday and was urging him to drop out and endorse Charlie Crist, the state’s governor, who is running for the Senate as an independent. The back-channel efforts by Mr. Clinton, which were first reported by Politico, were apparently an effort to prevent the state’s Senate seat from falling into the hands of Marco Rubio, the Republican who is leading both of his rivals in the polls.

There had been reports that for several weeks that Mr. Meek was being urged to consider dropping out of the contest. But the Democrat said repeatedly that he was staying in until the end.

I will not drop out of this race for any reason,” Mr. Meek said at the time.

Mr. Clinton, who is a close friend of Mr. Meek, had come close to convincing him to drop out last week while they were campaigning together across the state, Mr. McKenna said. The pair even came close to setting a date – Oct. 26 — at which Mr. Meek would endorse Mr. Crist and hold a rally.

But the idea fell apart after Mr. Meek changed his mind, Mr. McKenna confirmed.