The next seat up for grabs in the U.S. Senate’s ongoing game of musical chairs could involve Florida Gov. Charlie Crist replacing GOP Sen. Mel Martinez, who is thinking about retiring from the Senate before his term expires, RollCall.com reports.
The Web site attributes the report to “multiple Republican sources.” It states “Florida’s lieutenant governor is a Republican and would appoint Martinez’s successor if he and Crist both resign prematurely.”
The Sunshine State’s lieutenant governor Jeffrey D. Kottkamp.
Crist’s representatives are trying to quell the rumors. In an e-mail exchange with Newsmax, Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac responded that, “Gov. Crist is focused on being governor.”
Asked in a subsequent e-mail why Crist doesn’t flatly deny the report, Isaac replied, “I can only speak for Governor Crist and he is focused on Florida. I can't speak for Sen. Martinez.”
Martinez spokesman Ken Lundberg told RollCall: “What [Martinez] has said stands, that he looks forward to serving out the rest of his term.”
Martinez has already announced he won’t run for reelection when his current term expires in 2010. That has fueled heavy speculation over who will vie for the seat.
Crist is a rising GOP star who was widely mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Sen. John McCain. As a measure of Crist’s popularity, other Florida politicians are waiting to see if he will toss his hat in the ring for the Senate vacancy, before they announce their own intentions.
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