Mel Martinez GOP Senator Expects To Resign
Senator Mel Martinez of Florida, one of the reasonable voices of the Republican party has decided to step down before his term is due to expire in 2010 according to CNN, MSNBC, and Fox news.
Recently, Senator Martinez broke from the party leadership to vote in favor of Senate confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, as he lauded the nomination to the nation’s highest court of a Latina-American.
Even though Mr. Martinez had said he would not seek a second term in the Senate, it was widely assumed that he would finish serving his current one through the 2010 elections.
Mr. Martinez had served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the administration of former President George W. Bush, before resigning to run for the Senate in 2004. During part of his current Senate term, he also served as general chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Senator Martinez has just sent a letter to friends and supporters to announce his resignation. Some excerpts of his letter dated Aug. 7.
Because you're a friend, I wanted you to know first about the decision I will announce today 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.
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.
Lastly, Kitty and I would like to thank you for all your support. You have been helpful in countless ways. As I begin this new chapter in my life, I look forward to seeing more of you and your family.
He is expected to make a formal announcement Friday afternoon at a news conference in Orlando.
With Democrats holding a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate, every seat is critical for Republicans. The Florida race has captured national attention because it is one of several contests in which the GOP must find strong candidates to run.
It is widely expected that GOP Governor Charlie Crist will appoint a place-holder until the election. In the meantime, it is unlikely that the Senate will see any change as far as party representation.
"It's a deeply personal decision that he will expand on later today. He decided it's time to move to another stage of his life," said a source familiar with the situation.
More information will be added as the news develops.
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