Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek on Thursday denied reports that he agreed to drop out of the Florida Senate race under pressure from former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton last week while campaigning in Florida tried to talk Meek into quitting, and the congressman agreed twice to drop out and endorse independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist, Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna confirmed. It was first reported by Politico.
Meek, though, vehemently denied that Clinton ever asked him to withdraw.
"The press report from Politico that is out there is inaccurate — at best," Meek said during a hastily called news conference Thursday night. "President Clinton and I are good friends. He's continuing to be a supporter of this campaign. Any rumor or any statement by anyone that says that I made a decision to get out of the race is inaccurate."
Polls show Meek badly trailing Crist and front-runner Republican Marco Rubio.
Rumors had been swirling for weeks that Meek might be asked to drop out of the race to push votes toward Crist, who, when trailing in the polls to Rubio, bolted the Republican Party to run for the Senate as an independent. Experts say Crist would need the Democrats who are now backing Meek to even have a shot at winning.
"Charlie Crist truly will say and do anything to get elected and hold on to power," Rubio senior strategist Todd Harris said in a statement. "Secret deals to trade away principles for power is already the problem in Washington, it's not the solution. This is simply politics as usual which is exactly what voters across the country are emphatically rejecting this election." (Source)