A thinly sourced article by conservative economist and former Club For Growth President Stephen Moore in last week’s Wall Street Journal alleging that Florida Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek might drop out of the U.S. Senate race to allow no-party candidate and 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 on friendly conversations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Gov. Crist.) 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 for that choice since he was a Republican until early May, when he changed his voter registration to run as a no-party candidate. 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.)
It’s unlikely to happen now 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 to a reporter’s question 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.
Luke Johnson reports on Florida for The American Independent.