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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Kendrick Meek volunteer says Charlie Crist only chance to defeat Marco Rubio



Ellie Forte has been volunteering for Democrats ever since her mother dragged her to a Franklin D. Roosevelt campaign office in the Bronx in 1944. A Broward County resident for 35 years, she has run phone banks for John Kerry and Barack Obama.

So when Kendrick Meek got in the U.S. Senate race, Forte dutifully got to work. She had been making calls for him several times a week until a health issue put her on the sidelines. Forte, 80, is better now, but she's not going back to work for Meek.

"I just have a feeling that (Marco) Rubio is going to win, and it scares the hell out of me," she said. "That's why I'm urging people to vote for Charlie Crist."

Despite repeated assurances from Meek that the race is far from over, some loyal Democrats have already concluded that polls, fundraising and enthusiasm have decided his fate. It's unclear how many Ellie Fortes there are out there, but certainly she is not alone.

"If Kendrick would concede," she told the Buzz, "Crist would slaughter Rubio."

Forte said she has been approaching her friends in Broward Democratic circles and telling them of her decision. She said many feel similarly, while a smaller amount still cannot fathom voting for anyone but a Democrat.

She wishes Crist would send a stronger signal.

"I'm concerned because I haven't heard from him yet that he would caucus with the Democrats. I'm really torn. I'm not happy about that. I wish we had better choices, but we don't. I don't think Meek can win."

Meek, coming off an aggressive performance in last week's debate, seems ready to take it to the end. And the Florida Democratic Party today held a conference call that was designed to show solidarity.


[Last modified: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:46am]


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