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Charlie Crist Voicemail Released (AUDIO)

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 11/02/10 12:47 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:10 PM ET

Crist Meek Election Florida

A voicemail from Charlie Crist to Kendrick Meek has surfaced, lending credence to a claim that the independent candidate for Florida's U.S. Senate seat had sought to convince the Democrat to drop out of the race in hopes of loosening the grip of Republican Marco Rubio in the polls.

"I'll call you later this morning and see if we can work out a time to get together just you and me," Crist says in the voicemail left at around 4:50 a.m. on Friday and later released by the Meek campaign. "Take care, buddy."

The two later crossed paths at a campaign appearance for pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, where Meek told the Wall Street Journal that Crist directly propositioned him to abandon his campaign.

"He said, 'If you were to drop out and work with me and help me we together can beat Marco Rubio,'" Meek said, according to the WSJ. "I said, 'Governor, that's a non-starter.'"

According to Meek, Crist met his refusal with an offering of a cross supposedly given to him by his sister.

"I told him to keep the cross and that I carry my Christianity in my heart," Meek told WSJ.

From the WSJ report:

Mr. Meek said Mr. Crist had been calling him repeatedly all weekend, and that he blames Mr. Crist for spreading rumors in recent weeks that he was going to drop out of the three-way race against Mr. Rubio, the GOP nominee.

Last week, the Florida Senate race was disrupted by news that former president Bill Clinton had tried -- almost successfully -- to persuade Meek to withdraw from the race and endorse Crist.

Both Rubio and Meek have suggested that Crist might have been behind the reports, which Meek and Clinton have denied as false, or "inaccurate -- at best."

According to HuffPost Pollster's analysis of the race, Rubio leads both candidates with 45 percent of the vote. Crist tallied about 31 percent and Meek had 19, meaning that even if Meek were to drop out and all of his voters were to defect to Crist's camp, the election could still be tight.

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