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Altar call for Kendrick Meek

Img00080-20101031-0836 (2) At Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in struggling Liberty City, where he was baptized as a child, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate was summoned to the altar.

Kendrick Meek and his mother, 84-year-old Carrie Meek, stepped gingerly out of the second pew and sat down in two chairs placed in the center aisle, just in front of the simple altar. The 200 or so congregants clustered  around them, holding hands and singing "We've Come This Far By Faith.''

It was an emotional homecoming for Meek, who, according to every single poll, is expected to come in third place in Tuesday's election. He is the only major black Senate candidate in the country, and pastor George McRae reminded the black congregants of the time not so long ago when they couldn't even vote.

"Many times we live in the moment, but I don't want to miss the significance of this, the first time in the state of Florida there's been a candidate such as I who carries the perspective of people of struggle,'' Meek said. "My heart is full this morning as we continue to march on to victory."

Later this morning, outside Christ Way Baptist Church in Miramar, Meek called reports that former President Bill Clinton had urged him to bow out a "very unfortunate thing.'' As if to personally stomp the story out, Clinton made a last-minute offer yesterday to join Meek and gubernatorial Alex Sink at a rally tomorrow night in Orlando.

"His back is going to help me, it's going to help Alex Sink and other state candidates,'' Meek said.