When we signed off with our last post here on Riptide last night Kendrick Meek was still running a campaign to be elected to the United State Senate as the candidate of the party with the most registered voters in Florida. When we woke up this morning that was still the case. So what happened in between is ultimately meaningless, but like all things involving Bill Clinton is a fascinating little tale.
In a nutshell, Politico editor Ben Smith posted a story late yesterday afternoon claiming that former president Bill Clinton had almost succeeded in convincing Kendrick Meek from dropping out of the senate race and endorsing Charlie Crist. The reasoning being that that would be the only way to stop Marco Rubio. Depending on what you believe, the deal would involve Crist promising to caucus with the Democrats.
Clinton's alleged role in this is pretty fascinating, considering more than any other national figure he's stood behind Meek's campaign and appeared with the candidate at numerous fundraisers and campaign stops. Even as many Democrats within the state have wavered in their support of Meek, Clinton was always there.
Last night on Countdown with Kieth Olberman, Crist himself confirmed that his campaign had been talking to the Clinton camp.
Clinton meanwhile told CNN, "I knew it was being discussed, people had discussed it on and off... it was no secret," but refused to elaborate what role he had in these discussions.
The report lead Meek to hold an emergency press conference at 9:30 last night to refute the claims that he was dropping out, and that Clinton had urged him to do so.
The details and rumors flying around are stuff of political junkies dreams, but they matter little. Meek will continue his campaign.
Regardless of whether he "dropped out," his name will still be on the ballot, and likely thousands of ballots have already been cast for him in early and absentee voting.
Forcing Meek to drop out at this point would likely anger African-American voters and Democratic loyalists.
Let's be honest, while once a long, long time ago this senate seat seemed like a sure pick up for Democrats, the party has even acted like they've had a chance to win this since Crist entered the race. Though, they're still competitive in other races across the state, including the Governor's office, and voter turnout will play a big part in deciding those. Why risk it all on one race?
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.