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Snub to Meek may hurt Florida Democrats

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The turmoil in Florida's U.S. Senate race could hurt Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink, party leaders, observers and pollsters say.

Former President Bill Clinton's attempt to get Democratic Senate nominee Kendrick Meek to drop out in favor of Gov. Charlie Crist risks angering black voters, Susan MacManus of the University of South Florida told the Orlando Sentinel.

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"If Democrats lose the governor's race," she said, "that's one of the factors I will be looking at."

Orange County Democratic Chairman Jeremiah Jaspon agreed, saying: "That's definitely a concern. If folks feel he was slighted, they might not turn out."

Recent polls of the governor's race show Sink effectively tied with Republican Rick Scott.

"The Democratic civil war may make it tougher to mobilize party turnout, especially in the African-American community, where the slight of Meek may cause some black voters to sit on their hands next Tuesday," said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. His firm released a poll Friday showing Republican Marco Rubio far ahead of Crist and Meek in the Senate race.

After the Clinton story broke Thursday, state party officials rushed out a statement supporting Meek.

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