Meek stays in race

Ben Smith of Politico reported today that Bill Clinton tried, and almost succeeded, last week to convince Kendrick Meek to end his U.S. Senate campaign and to endorse Gov. Charlie Crist.

Meek held a press conference tonight and said that he plans to stay in the contest and denied media reports that former U.S. President Bill Clinton asked him to withdraw.

I called a source very close to the Meek campaign who confirmed that Clinton and Obama have been pressuring Meek to drop out. “Kendrick has been under tremendous pressure,” I was told, “but he is not dropping out and will continue to fight for the middle class.”

The African-American community–both in Florida and nationwide–is very invested in Meek’s campaign. He doesn’t want to let them down. Also, Meek dropping out would hurt Alex Sink’s bid for governor because she must have a strong vote from the black community.

Meanwhile African-American leaders are upset with Barack Obama. “If Obama forces Kendrick to drop out, he can kiss the White House goodbye in 2012,” one leader told me.