The majority leader's comments came after Crist told The Wall Street Journal that he has spoken twice in recent weeks with Reid, saying he had not offered assurances he would join the Democratic Caucus as an independent. The newspaper suggested that the talks signaled that Crist was considering joining the Democratic Caucus. Republicans believe Democrats are quietly trying to abandon Meek because Republican Marco Rubio may have a better shot at getting elected if there's a tight three-way race in which Crist and Meek split the votes of independents and moderate Democrats. But if Meek loses to billionaire Jeff Greene in the Democratic primary, more Democratic voters may defect and back Crist in a general election, giving the independent an upper hand in November.
Democrats insist they are behind Meek's candidacy - and Meek said as much Tuesday, calling it "inapprpriate" for Crist to suggest otherwise. Crist left the Republican Party amid a tea party-backed rebellion that helped fuel Rubio's rise - and should he win as an independent, his decision on which party to caucus with could have an enormous impact on a Senate that will likely be more closely divided next year. eek, who spoke about his candidacy at a closed-door Senate Democratic lunch Tuesday, has received $10,000 from Reid's political action committee.