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FL-Senate: Breaking Down the Crist Pick



Florida Gov. Charlie Crist must pick a replacement for resigning Sen. Mel Martinez. AP Photo/Phil Coale

Florida Sen. Mel Martinez's (R-Fla.) surprise resignation announcement on Friday has put Gov. Charlie Crist (R) in the hot seat as he must pick a replacement to fill out the remainder of Martinez's term.

Crist's pick is made more complicated by the fact that he is running for that same Senate seat in 2010 and faces a primary challenge from his ideological right in the form of former state House Speaker Marco Rubio.

We chatted with some smart Florida political strategists over the weekend to get a sense for who Crist is considering for the spot. Here's the current handicapping based on the likelihood of winning the appointment for an interim-only basis (former U.S. senator Connie Mack is apparently not interested):

Jim Smith: A former secretary of state, attorney general and party switcher (he went from Democrat to Republican after a failed primary run for governor in 1986) Smith was seen as the odds-on favorite on Friday. But, Smith's background as a lobbyist has become something of an issue -- the St. Petersburg Times editorialized against such a pick over the weekend -- and Crist isn't keen on upsetting one of the most influential papers in the state as he runs for Senate. Still, all things considered, the sources we talked to suggest Smith remains the frontrunner for the job.

Bob Martinez: Martinez, the former mayor of Tampa and governor of the Sunshine State from 1986 to 1990 (he also switched from Democrat to Republican, in 1983), is still very much in the mix, and would allow Crist to keep that seat in the hands of a senator of Hispanic background.

Allan Bense: Bense, the former speaker of the state House, is a trusted conservative from the state's Panhandle and has been mentioned for statewide office several times before. (National Republicans tried unsuccessfully to recruit Bense to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson in 2006.) Bense appears to be the hot name at the moment in Florida political circles, according to one informed GOP source.

George Lemieux: Lemieux is Crist's most loyal deputy, having served as his chief of staff in the state attorney general's office and having run Crist's campaign for governor in 2006. Lemieux was rumored as a potential candidate for the open attorney general job in 2010 but decided against a run. His pick would be reminiscent of the naming of Ted Kaufman, a longtime aide to then Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), to fill the remainder of Biden's term when the Delaware Democrat was elected vice president. One big difference: Biden did not name Kaufman himself, giving the pick less of a feel of blatant nepotism.

Jeb Bush: Bush, the popular former governor, would be a slam-dunk pick for Crist but there are (at least) two reasons why it's unlikely. First, Bush and Crist have never gotten along particularly well -- there were rumors (never proven) that Bush helped encourage Rubio to run for Senate. Second, it's not clear Bush, who turned down a run for Senate already this year, has any interest in serving on an interim basis. Crist can't risk picking someone who won't take the job.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 10, 2009; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

ddawd, on the one hand I can sympathise. Yes, he was a successful businessman, a lawyer, and I'm sure he viewed the Senate as a chance to assert himself in a new arena. Then, yeah, your party gets voted out and instead of being junior in the majority party, now at 62 you are junior in the minority party. Not as much fun anymore.

So, yes, I can see deciding not to run for the position again, but just as with all these elected officials who are quitting to run for newer, higher offices, I think an elected official DOES owe it to the voters to finish their term, and give the best representation they can. I think an intelligent person sees opportunity in the new freedom of not running again and uses it.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 11, 2009 6:33 AM | Report abuse

"Well, why would you take the job in the first place, if you wanted to spend lots of time with your family? Isn't that kind of job, and I'm sure he knew that."

Who knows? Perhaps he just didn't know what it would be like to be a Senator. He's never been a legislator before, right? I bet it's frustrating to be out of power.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 11, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin, that's what I mean about Crist. It's like the story of Tantalus: it's within reach but you can't have it.

bsimon: "D'ough!"

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 10, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

What would he gain by doing that, Mark? It would surely be seen by a lot of folks on both sides of the aisle as opportunistic and perhaps, irresponsible.

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I do wonder about Martinez. And I am not speculating about some infidelity or other misdeed. But I believe that he said he was resigning to 'spend more time with his family.'

Well, why would you take the job in the first place, if you wanted to spend lots of time with your family? Isn't that kind of job, and I'm sure he knew that.

I have never seen a politician say that unless it was a euphemism for something else.

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't Crist pick his "wife" in the tradition of oldtime southern governors like George Wallace, but with the added soupcon of inconsummation?

Posted by: TeddySanFran | August 10, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

And if he knows now that he wants to retire, why not? If he were planning to run for President, this would be dumb, but if he just wants out of politics, then why wait a year and a half?

==

Maybe he's ashamed to be a member of a party of nutbars taking up terrorism as a strategy.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Would you prefer something cruller?

==

Now now don't fritter away in worry

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Questions for the knowledgeable:

1] Who would succeed Crist as Gov. if he appoints himself to the Senate?

2] How would that succession play out for FL politics?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | August 10, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"Tell me again, just WHY is Seantor Martinez resigning so suddenly?"

It's not like he's just got three days to go. It's still another year and a half. And if he knows now that he wants to retire, why not? If he were planning to run for President, this would be dumb, but if he just wants out of politics, then why wait a year and a half? Does he really care if this causes a problem for Crist?

Posted by: DDAWD | August 10, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"bsimon, that is a cruel way to talk about donuts."

Would you prefer something cruller?

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 10, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, that is a cruel way to talk about donuts.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 10, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

How do they do it in Massachusetts? If I remember correctly, the power was taken away from the Governor so that Mitt Romney couldn't pick Kerry's successor if he happened to win the Presidency.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 10, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse


Gillibrand's replacement was of course a US Rep, not a Senator. That's a two-year hitch, so a 22-month appointment is a little different. Plus its not a state-wide election except in the lowest-population states.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 10, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"I also restate that there are more democratic (or perhaps republican) ways of filling a vacant seat. Appointment and confirmation is fine by me. Someone should be vetting these choices. It seems like most of the current appointees are decent choices, but do we need another Sen. Burress?"


Adding a confirmation step is a reasonable suggestion. But that should be up to the states (as it is now), and thus not require a constitutional amendment.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 10, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

If it was a Lib seat we could simply consult the highest bid on e bay for the answer to this question.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 10, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Let's not. "Economics" doesn't seem to lead to very many good decisions.

Posted by: chrisuxcox

why is it that the dopes who spend the most time on this blog are the most stupid ? Is it some sort of cause and effect, surfing the fix kills brain cells?

I hand you as evidence Drivl, chrisuxcox, scrivener and Jaked. the highest users and lowest intellect.

QED

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 10, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

We're already having special elections. I remember that Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer ran for the Senate at the same time. Boxer had to run again two years later as she was finishing an incomplete term.

Let's consider NY state. The Gillebrand appointment triggered a special election in NY between Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy. I doubt anyone can explain why a special election was needed in one case and not the other. If appointments are a good idea, shouldn't Paterson have appointed Gillebrand's replacement? If special elections are a good idea, why shouldn't there have been an election to replace Hillary Clinton?

I also restate that there are more democratic (or perhaps republican) ways of filling a vacant seat. Appointment and confirmation is fine by me. Someone should be vetting these choices. It seems like most of the current appointees are decent choices, but do we need another Sen. Burress?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 10, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

That's arithmetic. No hand-waving about incentives in there.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Obviously gubernatorial appointments can lead to trouble. Blazo/Burris of course, but also the Murkowski mess in Alaska. But a bad appointment infers a bad Senator, who is therefore unlikely to prevail in the subsequent election. Not really a major problem.

For Crist, the problem is choosing a caretaker that isn't too obviously a caretaker, since appointing himself would not look good. But he can't afford to run against someone he appointed, only a year earlier. Jeb is out for that reason, plus they don't like each other apparently. An older pol with statewide recognition is perfect, which is why Bob Martinez should be on the short list.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 10, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"Let's not. "Economics" doesn't seem to lead to very many good decisions."

Hogwash. Most people make decisions on an economic calculation of sorts, by comparing costs to benefits. For instance, if I eat a donut, I'll enjoy its tasty, fatty, sugary goodness for 2 minutes. But that sugar high is going to last about 30 minutes, followed by a crash. The fat is going to raise my cholesterol by some degree, and I'm not expecting any appreciable exercise today to burn it off. Whether I have that donut or not will depend on how I weight those costs and benefits.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 10, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Let's not. "Economics" doesn't seem to lead to very many good decisions.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

reason5 writes
"Personally I understand why a governor's appointment is necessary. Is it really a good investment for any state to pay for a special election when their elected governor could appoint a US Senate for 1 year 1/2? Let's think economics, people!"

I agree. Its not worth the effort & expense. If you hold an election, do you hold a primary first? If not, how do you determine who's on the ballot? Any schmuck who's interested, or is there a provision to winnow the candidates? If you let the parties pick, you're back to anti-democratic biases. It is far more sensible to recognize the system is imperfect and live with it.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 10, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Personally I understand why a governor's appointment is necessary. Is it really a good investment for any state to pay for a special election when their elected governor could appoint a US Senate for 1 year 1/2? Let's think economics, people!

Posted by: reason5 | August 10, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse


I don't recall an example in recent history of an appointment lasting more than two years. A special election has to be held to finish the senator's final two or four years every state, I think.

I'm not sure conducting a "snap" election, within 90 days, would produce a good senator. It would be all name recognition and party affiliation--might as well let the governor do it.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 10, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama predicts 'sensible' health care win

so I guess the Lib version is out.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 10, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

margaretmeyers:

While U.S. Senators' retirement and health benefits are identical to other federal employees, they are fully vested after five (5) years of service, not 1 1/2 years. Nonetheless, still a great gig if you can get it ; )

FairlingtonBlade:

You're welcome.

Posted by: JakeD | August 10, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

One thing leads to another, chrisfox8.

Posted by: JakeD | August 10, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

@all - Thanks for the responses. I think it would be a fine idea to have a replacement senator selected by the same process as once was the case with the Senate. Alternately, the replacement senator is appointed by the governor, but must be confirmed by the state senate (or the legislature in the case of Nebraska). As matters stand, the replacement senator is selected and confirmed by a committee of ONE.

As for a snap election, I expect that it could be done within 6 - 8 weeks. A number of states make provision for this. I would note that either proposal would save the need for an election as I think a temporary appointee has to run at the next election anyway.

And, as long as I'm on a constitutional revision roll, I think one could easily finesse the electoral college by making it district by district with the winner of a state's votes winning the election. But that's another day and another dollar...

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 10, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

So, does Senator Martinez hate Crist or what? He' really jammed him up with this unexpected departure. Think of the rewards for the place-holder though -- they'll get a pension, and maybe even portable health care, just for showing up for 17 months.

Tell me again, just WHY is Seantor Martinez resigning so suddenly?

Posted by: margaretmeyers | August 10, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Incidentally, if you want to complain about the undemocratic nature of the Senate, a good place to start is the fact that each state gets the same number of votes. That a resident of Wyoming has 70 times more power than a resident of California. Look at the members of the Baucus Caucus. Disproportionately small state. There's a good article on the history of the 2 vote rule.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/07/AR2009080702045.html

The Gangs of D.C.
In the Senate, Small States Wield Outsize Power. Is This What the Founders Had in Mind?

Posted by: DDAWD | August 10, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

For continuing on-the-ground coverage of this most important race, please visit saintpetersblog.com

Posted by: saintpetersblog | August 10, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The Framers of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress first and foremost as a compromise between those who felt that each State, since it was sovereign, should be equally represented, and those who felt the Legislature must directly represent the People, as did the House of Commons in Britain. Secondly, there was a desire to have two Houses that could act as an internal check on each other.

==

Most of us learned this stuff in grade school

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The Seventeenth Amendment does require that special elections be held to fill mid-term vacancies in the U.S. Senate, but also allows State legislatures to empower the Governor of the State to fill the seat by an appointment between the start of the vacancy and the time that the winner of any special election is certified. Forty-five (45) States permit such appointments, as of 2009. However, Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin require special elections for vacancies, and Oklahoma permits the Governor to appoint only the winner of a special election.

The remaining State, Alaska, in 2004, enacted legislation and a separate ballot referendum law that took effect on the same day, that currently conflict. It is therefore uncertain today whether Alaska's Governor can legally appoint an interim Senator to serve until the mandated special election occurs, 60 to 90 days after the vacancy happens. The effect of the ballot-approved law is to withhold from the Governor authority to appoint a Senator. Because the Seventeenth Amendment vests the power to grant that authority to the State legislature explicitly, not the People or even the State generally, it is unclear whether the ballot measure supplants the Alaskan State legislature's statute granting that authority.

Posted by: JakeD | August 10, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The only consideration that makes this topic remotely interesting is that Crist's choice is going to be swamped by considerations of his own political future. The choice he makes will likely be different from the choice he would make had he no ambitions of his own, and likely to be less about what's good for Florida than about what's good for Charlie Crist.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse


Indeed, Senators represented their *states* just as members of the House of Lords represented their *estates.*

There are those who suggest we don't need any elected officials anymore. Just put the bills up on the internet and we can vote for them online. Direct democracy! When I ask *who* is going to write these bills and *who* is going to ensure an accurate online vote, I get blank stares.

I like the system we have pretty well.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 10, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The Framers of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress first and foremost as a compromise between those who felt that each State, since it was sovereign, should be equally represented, and those who felt the Legislature must directly represent the People, as did the House of Commons in Britain. Secondly, there was a desire to have two Houses that could act as an internal check on each other. One was intended to be a "People's House" directly elected by the People, and with short terms obliging the Representatives to remain close to their constituents. The other was intended to represent the States insomuch as they retained their sovereignties not expressly delegated to the National government.

The Senate of the United States was formed on the example of the ancient Roman Senate. The name is even derived from the "senatus", Latin for council of elders (also from "senex" meaning old man in Latin ; )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate#History

Posted by: JakeD | August 10, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"I don't care if it's Blago, Paterson, or Crist, this power belongs to the people"

It's not the worst thing in the world to have the gov. appoint a senator to sit for two years at most. The people can always boot him out if they want.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 10, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@BB: there really isn't enough time for an election, what with all the rigamarole we have to go through in this country.

Back in Lincoln's time the whole thing took two weeks, for the *presidential*

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

FairlingtonBlade:

You do recall that U.S. Senators used to be selected by State Legislators, right? We live in a Republic, not a democracy. Don't worry, though, because Gov. Crist will be held to account for this pick.

Posted by: JakeD | August 10, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

And if the nutbar pulled his gun and aimed it at the Congressman, and the cops wrestled it from him, we'd hear even more screaming about Second Amendment rights.

You realize that the Republican Party is practically a terrorist organization now?

Wow.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I'd be glad to. Once he has one, that is. Trying to figure this out is, well, speculative. Sadly, yet another case where a replacement election is warranted rather than the whims of yet another governor. I don't care if it's Blago, Paterson, or Crist, this power belongs to the people

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | August 10, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

One thing leads to another, Jake.

You forgot the obligatory "our gracious host" thing

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone want to actually discuss Gov. Crist's pick?

Posted by: JakeD | August 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

the heat is being generated by too much hot air coming out of talk radio.

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

If it was a "heated" town hall in Memphis in August, well no wonder folks got cranky.

I suggest "air-conditioned" town halls for the remainder of the August recess at least. Cooler heads may yet prevail.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | August 10, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"TPMDC checks into a local report that a man brought a gun to a heated weekend town hall meeting held by Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN) in Memphis."

Yes, sure enough, the lynch mobs are starting to bring weapons to Democrat's town halls. How long before some loony wnger kills a congressperson? What will it take for people to realize that the R base is now a death cult?

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

During a recent town hall in Massachusetts, an angry attendee asked Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) why she and other Members of Congress won’t enroll in a public plan. Tsongas responded, “People often say why don’t the American people have what those of us in Congress have.” As she tried to explain the substance of the health care reform bill, the town hall participants began screaming, refusing to allow her to speak.

As a member of Congress, Tsongas said she has a “tremendous array of choice” in health care options available to her. The audience yelled, “We want choice! We want choice!” To those who were willing to listen, Tsongas explained, “That is essentially what we are creating for the American people – we are creating greater choice.” Watch it:


As is often the case with these angry town hall participants, their fervent complaints are grounded in a shallow understanding of the facts. The truth is, Obama’s health care plan delivers for those who want more choice, like members of Congress have. The public option would insert public/private competition in a “market” that is currently dominated by a monopoly of health insurers who dictate the terms. As Republican congressman Pat Murphy (R-PA) said:

One of our big frustrations with insurance companies is they control the marketplace, they control what’s done, a lot of times doctors not making the decisions here.

Obama is pushing to establish more health care choices for the consumer by creating a national health insurance exchange “where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that’s best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can” in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. “One of these options,” Obama said, “needs to be a public option that will give people a broader range of choices and inject competition into the health care market so that force waste out of the system and keep the insurance companies honest.”

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

oops, forgot the big one:

All repubs are racist. end of discussion.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 10, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Crist isn't a racist b/c he was against Sotomayor, he wants to protect the courts against judicial activism and protect the 2nd Amendment.

==

There should be a rule that you can only use one transparent shibboleth per post.

(1) Sotomayor is not a judicial activist. On the contrary, it is the five right-wing radicals on the Court already who are the activists, by any objective definition

(2) Sotomayor has shown no inclination to take on the RKBA. That's pure invention by the paranoid right

People who recite shibboleths are people who real positions are unpalatable. Ergo, Crist has other reasons than the one states. "Racist" is an appealing possibility.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

" Crist isn't a racist b/c he was against Sotomayor, he wants to protect the courts against judicial activism and protect the 2nd Amendment. "

LOL. Roberts is the most activist jurist probably ever on the Supreme Court.

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

simple question, why would anyone listen to the opinions of a bunch of loony left Libs.

I can provide all the replies for every single one of them so they can take the day off and go pick up their welfare check:

1. repubs are evil
2. stupid too
3. crazy
4. corrupt
5. they live in their mom's basement (it just never gets old)

that pretty much exhausts the brain trust of leftism.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | August 10, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I doubt seriously that Allen Bense would be interested in serving 1 1/2 years in the US Senate, as he would want to be there for the long haul in politics. I doubt Crist will appoint Lemieux because he needs him to help run his campaign for US Senate & b/c of the obvious set-up deal for Crist to run in 2010. I am doubting Crist would put in Jim Smith due to his lobbyist image, as it may do harm to Crist's own US Senate efforts. Besides what Crist likely won't do, Jeb Bush likely won't take a stint in the US Senate for 1 1/2 years. He choose not to run in 2006 against Nelson and turned down the open seat opportunity in 2010. Jeb has no desire to serve in the US Senate.

So, who will Charlie Crist pick? To me, that leaves the list down to 2: Bob Martinez & Charlie Crist. I think Crist will go with Bob Martinez. In return, Martinez will endorse Crist against Rubio in the R primary and in the GE against against Meeks. This could make up for Crist in the Hispanic community coming out against Sotomayor. Obviously, the race baiting is politics anyhow. Crist isn't a racist b/c he was against Sotomayor, he wants to protect the courts against judicial activism and protect the 2nd Amendment. With a Martinez pick Crist can satisfy the base, keep independents & moderate dems. and win kudos with the Hispanic population. I believe Martinez will be the pick.

Posted by: reason5 | August 10, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Bense wouldn't even run against the loony Katherine Harris. I don't understand why he's such a hot pick.

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I heard it was going to be Scott Rothstein.

==

What, you got a tweet from Sarah Palin?

The choice has not been announced.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

No one will be electing a bush to do anythng anytime soon.

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I heard it was going to be Scott Rothstein.

Posted by: JakeD | August 10, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The base would go wild if Crist picks Jeb...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | August 10, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The moderates and the GOP base are irreconcilable. Pleasing one can only come at the cost of alienating the other. Which is more numerous? The moderates.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Bense seems to be the type of guy that Crist would want. Good, but not too good.

Posted by: DDAWD | August 10, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Crist's dilemma is how to please the base without alienating the moderates. Going on the record against Sotomayor was designed with that in mind: by next Nov, nobody will care that he said he would have voted 'no'. But this appointment will have a longer-term impact. Who can he appoint that will keep the base happy - by voting against every Obama initiative - without alienating the moderates Crist will need to win the general election?

My guess is Bob Martinez. LeMieux is too close to Crist & would appear too much like a proxy for him - Martinez would be seen as being his own man, which should limit the tarnish on Crist with the base or moderates.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 10, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

come on Chris, easy choice, Marco Rubio, if he messes up, he's dead in 2010 and if he makes it, Crist looks like a genius. Sorry to say told you so about Sebelius but she's been a letdown in the Cabinet.

Posted by: rufkd | August 10, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Why even mention Jeb Bush?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 10, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

B. Martinez would be smart pick and helpful in attracting Hispanics who might justifiably rule out ever supporting the GOP in the wake of widespread Republican objections to the Sotomayor SCOTUS nomination.

***

MORE EVIDENCE THAT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IS USING WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE AS A PRETEXT TO HARASS AND CENSOR/IMPOSE PRIOR RESTRAINT UPON U.S. CITIZENS VIA TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Please scroll to the bottom of the "comments" section of this ACLU "freedom blog" thread to see the latest apparent affronts to Constitutional rights in America:

http://blog.aclu.org/2009/01/26/internet-filters-voluntary-ok-not-government-mandate

Posted by: scrivener50 | August 10, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"Now Smith is a partner in Smith & Ballard, one of the top-grossing lobbying firms in Tallahassee. The firm has dozens of clients, including a variety of health care companies that have an interest in health care reform. Among its other clients are Florida Power & Light, which has an interest in the energy legislation passed by the House and awaiting Senate action. It's bad enough that lobbyists have so much influence in Tallahassee and Washington without having one occupy one of Florida's U.S. Senate seats."

Among Smith and Ballard's dubious achievments:

"Among his biggest victories: In 2000, he successfully lobbied Gov. Jeb Bush and the Cabinet to replace the vendor in charge of a statewide police radio network with his client, Com-Net Ericsson.

In 2003, he persuaded the Florida Lottery to replace its online game vendor with his client, GTECH.

In the final hour of the 2006 session, he worked his will again as the Legislature gutted a law once championed by Crist that required detailed tracking of prescription drug shipments, a law that his retail clients opposed."

Corrupt to the hilt.

Posted by: drindl | August 10, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

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