Wednesday, December 03, 2008

GOP's Martinez To Give Up Senate Seat In 2010

Having helped do enough damage during the second half of George W. Bush's dismal presidency, Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) announced on Tuesday that he would leave the U.S. Senate in 2010 after only one, six-year term.

Saying that his decision "was not based on reelection prospects, but on what I want to do with the next eight years of my life," Martinez said that stepping down after only one term is primarily so he can spend more time with his family.

“The thought of devoting more time to my roles as husband, dad, granddad, brother and son to the family I love and cherish, and to be 'Mel' to the friends I miss – makes this decision far easier than one might think," said Martinez. "So with two years left in my term, I make this announcement today in order to give the many qualified individuals who might choose to try to succeed me an opportunity to organize and gather support."

With Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) also expected to leave the Senate to run for Governor of Kansas, this would make two Republican seats already listed as toss-ups in the 2010 election cycle.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush is seen as a possible candidate for the Republicans in replacing Martinez, while there may be many Democrats up to the challenge, including Congressmen Kendrick Meek and Ron Klein and state Senator Dan Gelber. The state's popular Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, is a Democrat who has indicated she will not run -- but running for an open seat versus fighting an incumbent might cause Sink to change her mind.

With his most recent approval rating at only 42 percent, a November Quinnipiac poll showing him losing by four points to an unnamed Democratic opponent in 2010 and with a reputation for being a huge enabler to President Bush, it's safe to say that Martinez sees the writing on this wall already and wants to leave before he's tossed out.

“I look forward to serving out these next two years," said Martinez. "There are big problems facing Florida and the nation, and I will continue to do what I think is in the best interests of the people whom I represent."

And I'm guessing that having to not run for reelection means that he can decide what's best for Floridians and the nation is to act as a primary roadblock to President Barack Obama's agenda.

That may just be cynical, Senate-watching Bob's wild speculation -- but I doubt it.