Rumors of a Meek Dropout Ignore That His Name Cannot Be Removed From the Ballot
A thinly-sourced article by conservative economist and former Club for Growth President Stephen Moore in last week’s Wall Street Journal alleging that Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) might drop out of the U.S. Senate race to allow independent candidate Gov. Charlie Crist to have a better chance at defeating Republican Marco Rubio in the race reignited persistent rumors that Crist would become the de facto Democratic nominee. (The Journal also reported friendly conversations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Crist last summer.) Meek’s camp immediately shot down the suggestion and said that Meek laughed out loud when he read it.
However, most ignored whether it was a practical possibility or not.
According to Florida election law, after the primary, names cannot be removed from the ballot. However, if Meek were to remove himself from the race, the party could decide to place his votes for another candidate of the party’s choosing. But it does not appear that Crist could even be eligible to receive Meek’s votes. Law requires that “the person is not a registered member of any other political party and **has not been a candidate for nomination for any other political party for a period of 6 months preceding the general election **for which the person seeks to qualify” (emphasis added). Crist was a Republican until May 12 — five and half months ago — when he changed his voter registration to run as an independent.
Anyway, such a move is unlikely to happen so late in the election, since early voting in Florida begins in just six days. The Florida Democratic Party also ran a tough ad in the strategic I-4 corridor and other markets against Crist, highlighting his conservative positions. James Carville and the Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Karen Thurman spoke to reporters Tuesday on a conference call, reaffirming that Meek would stay in.
Crist tried to get more Democratic voters on his side Tuesday when he agreed with a reporter’s suggestion that a vote for Meek was a vote for Rubio. Meek, on MSNBC Monday, said, “I am nominated by hundreds of thousands of voters in this state. … Charlie Crist walked down to the supervisor of elections office, became an independent because he wanted to get out of the kitchen with Marco Rubio. He had his chance to win.”
Both candidates have declined on whether the other should drop out, saying it’s their decision.