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U.S. Senator Mel Martinez Resigns

August 7, 2009

Earlier today, a number of reports surfaced regarding the potential resignation of U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R).  Our offices have just received an official statement from Senator Martinez, which we have included below.

Rumors have circulated for months that Senator Martinez would resign early from his Senate seat, but each time he emphatically denied the rumors and stated he had no plans of resigning the seat early.  Today, he has shocked everyone with his decision to resign upon the time a replacement is chosen. 

Currently, the race for U.S. Senate is a highly anticipated campaign pitting current Governor Charlie Crist against former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio in the Republican primary.  The victor will face Congressman Kendrick Meek in the general election. 

The question now remains whether rumors of Charlie Crist stepping down to become Senator and Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp becoming Governor for the remainder of the term are true.  Will Charlie Crist be willing to face criticism for stepping down early from Governor, and would being Governor help Kottkamp’s chances in being elected to Attorney General next year? And if Governor Crist doesn't step down early to take the open Senate seat, then who will he choose to be a placeholder until next year’s election?

Statement from U.S. Senator Mel Martinez

Orlando, FL – U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding his decision to step down from public office.

“Twelve years ago I offered myself as a candidate for public office in Florida out of a deep sense of appreciation for what America and the people of Florida did for me as a young immigrant to this country.

“In 1997, Kitty and I decided it was time to give back and we entered the public arena, first as Mayor of Orange County, then as a Member of the President’s cabinet and now as a United States Senator. Through those experiences I have gained the greatest respect for the people of Florida and have enjoyed serving their interests.

“When I began my term as Senator, I promised I wouldn’t simply warm a seat; I promised to take on the difficult issues and work to make a difference. Keeping that promise has meant pressing for help and assistance for families struggling to keep their homes, their jobs, and their confidence that our country is safe.

“And on that note, I am especially grateful to the men and women of our military and their families whom I have had the distinct honor of representing in Washington and I thank them for their service to our country.

“As a US Senator, I have also had a platform to speak against the oppression of the Cuban regime and my hope for a better future for the people of Cuba. I will continue that lifelong passion in the next phase of my life.

“I will always be grateful to the people of Florida for bestowing on me the singular honor of representing them in the United States Senate.

“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.

“So today I am announcing my decision to step down from public office, effective on a successor taking office to fill out the remainder of my term.

“I have enjoyed my time in the Senate and have the utmost respect for my colleagues and the institution. I especially thank Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for his guidance and insight.

“I look forward to continuing to be an active and constructive voice on issues vital to Florida and our nation, and being an active member of Florida’s Republican Party.”