Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mel Martinez Retiring From Senate


Over the last few days people have been speculating about which Senators up for re-election in 2010 would be most vulnerable. No list is complete without listing Florida Republican Mel Martinez. Obama's victory there, a demographic shift towards the center and away from the extreme right, and tanking job approval numbers have combined to place a big fat bull's eye on Martinez' back. But this morning he made it clear that he will not be defeated. That's because he's retiring. He said he wants "more free time and a less scheduled life." OK. Perhaps he could sell those ideas to some of the more extremist members of his caucus like Jim DeMint, Judd Gregg and Tom Coburn?

Martinez is the second Republican-- after Sam Brownback-- to declare he wouldn't be running for re-election in 2010. This year voluntary GOP retirements led to Democratic pickups in New Mexico, Colorado and Virginia.

Earlier today the Democrat who was viewed as the best shot to run against Martinez, Florida's chief financial officer, Alex Sink, took herself out of the running. Perhaps Martinez' decision will cause her to reconsider. But, whatever the case, there are plenty of Democrats eager for that Senate seat, including Congressmembers Kendrick Meek, reactionary Blue Dog Allen Boyd, Ron Klein (who just won his second term), progressive Robert Wexler, and the most nakedly ambitious politician from Florida, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. And then there are former state House leader Dan Gelber and state Senator Dave Aronberg.

On the Republican side, one politician certain not to run is new House Speaker Ray Sansom who is more likely to be fighting off ethics charges than fighting for higher office. Florida Republicans are trying to get Jeb Bush to run in the one state in the country, other than Utah, where the name isn't toxic. Bush has been talking about forming a shadow government to muck things up for Obama. Others in contention include State Attorney General Bill McCollum, state Senate President Jeff Atwater, former state House speaker Marco Rubio and far right congressmembers Vern Buchanan, Howdy Doody, and Connie Mack. Rumors are already flying that Martinez will retire early, giving Charlie Crist an opportunity to name a successor, achieving two objectives: it gives the Republicans an opportunity to field an incumbent and it prevents the dominant Know Nothing base of the state party from nominating a complete psycho-- like newly elected West Palm Beach Republican Executive Committee member Derek Black, a KKK Sarah Palin type leader or Rep. Jeff Miller-- who would be unable to compete with a mainstream Democrat.

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At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard Bob Graham's name floated around also....PPP did a poll recently...if Graham were to run again he would beat Martinez 51-31...not even counting the undecided.

I don't really see any of the candidates as particularly appealing, I LOVE Robert Wexler but I don't think he could get elected statewide.

If I had to pick someone to run (besides Graham) I'd pick Rep. Kathy Castor. Her mother ran for the seat in 2004 and lost by a point. She has a ProgressivePunch score of 95.93...which is actually higher than Tom Udall, Pete Stark, and Carol Shea-Porter.

F. (ucking) Allen Boyd would rival Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu for worst Dem in the senate.

On the GOP side....Crist seems too ambitious not to run. Used Car Salesman / Fake moderate Vern Buchanan would be aided by the corrupt Sarasota GOP so watch him try to run. Both of them would be attacked though for not being "fiscally conservative" enough....Buchanan, despite being a right-winger when it comes to social issues and most economic issues, is hardly a Club for Growth prodigy. And we all know about Closet Case Charlie.

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