Aaronson backs Crist; Vana says Meek should get outby Jane Musgrave | October 14th, 2010
After weeks of playing it coy, Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson today officially announced he would endorse independent candidate Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate race.
While the announcement was expected, Aaronson’s Democratic counterpart on the commission, former State Rep. Shelley Vana, took it a step further. Not only did she endorse Crist, she urged Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek to get out of the race.
“I respectfully ask Congressman Meek — whom I love — to take one for the team,” she said. “While we love Kendrick at some point Kendrick has to know there’s a greater good here.”
The greater good, both commissioners said, was keeping GOP candidate Marco Rubio from becoming the state’s next U.S. senator.
“If Marco Rubio becomes the 51st or 50th representative in the U.S. Senate all the dreams Democrats have had will go for naught,” Aaronson said. After looking at poll numbers, which as recently as yesterday put Meek in third place, Aaronson said he’s convinced there’s no way the Miami congressman can win.
“Sometimes you do things for the betterment of the country as opposed to the heartfelt warmth you have for the party,” Aaronson said.
However, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, said such defections will come back to haunt the Democratic Party.
“They are sowing the seeds of destruction for the Democratic Party in Palm Beach County, Broward County and in this state,” he said. “If they continue on the path they are on and cause Marco Rubio to be the next U.S. senator then there will be hell to pay for the Democratic Party and Alcee Hastings will be part of that hell.”
The endorsements came a day after Crist picked up the backing of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The environmental lawyer said he, too, was convinced Meek can’t beat Rubio, whom he described as a radical member of the “crackpot” tea party movement.
Meek’s camp said the Democrat has no intention of getting out of the race. They blame Crist for planting the seeds of discontent and spreading vicious rumors.
Hastings agreed. To Crist, he said: “Get out of my party and get out of Kendrick’s way.”