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Senator Martinez to resign, Governor Crist to appoint

August 7, 2009 a surprising move, Florida Senator Mel Martinez announced today he will resign from the Senate this month to pursue a career in the private sector. The decision comes as a shock to Floridians and adds an interesting twist to the campaign to replace Martinez in 2010.

Martinez, who in December announced he would not seek re-election, has long insisted he would not resign his seat, but now cites personal and family reasons for his early departure.

“My priorities have always been my faith, my family and my country and at this stage in my life, and after nearly twelve years of public service in Florida and Washington, it’s time I return to Florida and my family.”

He added that he was not pressured to step down, stating, “I did this on my own free will. There’s no reason – this is just my desire to move on and get on with the rest of my life.”

Martinez’s resignation creates an interesting predicament for Governor Charlie Crist, who is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for the 2010 Senate race, because he is responsible for appointing a candidate to fill the seat for the remainder of Martinez’s term.Crist has told the Associated Press that he will not appoint himself to the vacant seat, but is expected to instead appoint a placeholder to serve through the 2010 election.

This leaves considerable speculation over who Crist will select.

One such name, former Senator Connie Mack, recieved many speculative mentions, but was quick to take himself out the conversation. Other potential candidates include former Florida Secretary of State Jim Smith, former Republican Governor Bob Martinez, and Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer. Former State Senate Republican leader Dan Webster has also interjected his own name.

State Senate candidate John Thrasher has thrown his support behind Jim Smith, although Smith supported Crist’s opponent in the 2006 Gubernatorial election. Smith has served as a Democratic Attorney General, a Democratic candidate for Governor, and a Republican Secretary of State. Thrasher said of Smith, “He’s got a great record of public service in this state.”

“Crist needs to appoint someone who won’t run against him, and someone who will be well-received in terms of stature, experience and can fill the role for the remainder of the term,” said former Florida GOP Executive Director David Johnson.

Those close to Crist have said his decision should come within the next couple days. As always, PoliticsFLA will be here every step of the way to bring you the latest political news in Florida.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 1, 2009 11:07 pm

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