Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bill Clinton’s role in Florida Senate race seems
to cost Democrat some black votes

From Damien Cave of The New York Times on Oct. 29:
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Former President Bill Clinton's political bank shot appears to have hit its mark with many black Democrats who were lined up at the polls here Friday.

They were not voting for the Democratic congressman and neighbor they had long supported — Representative Kendrick B. Meek — but rather for Gov. Charlie Crist, a former Republican who is running for the Senate as an independent.

Many of them, like Kevin Roberson, a postal worker from Miami, said they admired Mr. Meek. But when they heard that the former president had talked to Mr. Meek about dropping out to keep the Republican, Marco Rubio, from winning, they said it was time to be practical.

“A vote for Meek is a wasted vote,” Mr. Roberson said as he waited to cast his ballot.

Others agreed. “I would like for him to win, but you know what? He’s behind,” said Betty Chambers, a hospital secretary. “And if Rubio wins, we’re in trouble.”

Strategists from both parties disagree on the likely impact of Mr. Clinton’s effort to single-handedly reshape one of the most closely watched races in the country by giving Democrats permission to sacrifice one of their own.

About a third of Florida’s likely voters have already cast ballots. Mr. Meek has also insisted that he will stay in the race, and Mr. Rubio’s campaign has emphasized that it has a commanding lead in most polls, including a new Mason-Dixon poll released Friday.

But with some polls swinging sharply in recent days — though Mr. Meek has remained a distant third — some Democrats believe that the vote of no-confidence by Mr. Clinton may be enough to alter the outcome.


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