Coming off his vote in favor of the appointment of Sonja Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, Florida Republican Senator Mel Martinez has announced his resignation. Although Martinez had previously announced his intention to resign from the Senate, it’s been widely assumed that he would not leave office until the end of his term.
Reports are that Florida Governor, Charlie Crist, could appoint himself to hold Martinez’s seat until the 2010 elections.
From the Orlando Sentinel:
Official word could come later today, but CNN and Politico.com have already reported that Sen. Mel Martinez, an Orlando Republican who planned to retire in 2010, was resigning the office. This means Crist, the leading Republican candidate to fill the open seat, could have to tap someone to serve the remainder of the term.
The appointment can be argued to be a direct slap to the face of Martinez’s fellow Hispanic and announced Senatorial candidate, Marco Rubio (who opposed the appointment of Sotomayor).
What does this mean for the future of the GOP nationwide and in Florida? Considering Crist has been considered the white-headed stepchild of the Republican Party for several months following his support of President Obama’s stimulus package, one would assume a change in tune for the national Republican party towards a more moderate stance.
That, however, is probably not the case. Crist has been shown to waffle on important issues, changing his mind frequently. Additionally, his stance on gay marriage and gay adoption in Florida as well as being potentionally outed by the documentary Outrage, make him far more than the hypocrite he is, particularly considering the rumors regarding his own sexuality, which has been discussed here and nationally before.
I suspect Crist will do whatever the Republican Party tells him to, constituents be damned, in his never-ending quest for the Presidency of the United States.
As far as the State of Florida, Crist will be able to appoint his own predecessor, which may or may not be beneficial to the gubenatorial challenge of State Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink, in the coming year.