August 7th, 2009
03:05 PM ET
6 years ago

First on the CNN Ticker: Florida senator to resign seat

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, will announce that he is resigning his seat.
Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, will announce that he is resigning his seat.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, will announce that he is resigning his seat, three GOP sources tell CNN.

The sources said that Martinez will officially announce his intention to step down on Friday. The Florida Republican, first elected in 2004, announced in December of last year that he would retire in 2010.

Florida law states that Gov. Charlie Crist may temporarily appoint someone to the vacant seat until the next general election. As of Friday morning, it was unclear what Crist would do. Crist announced in May he would not seek another term as governor, and instead would run for Martinez's seat.

Martinez is the only Hispanic Republican in the Senate. He joined eight other Republicans Thursday in voting to confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic justice to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Democrats currently hold a tenuous filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, with 60 votes. Martinez is one of six Republicans who have stated they would not seek re-election in 2010. But the Florida senator is the second Republican who has decided to leave before the curtain drops on the 111th Congress next fall.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, recently announced her intention to quit the Senate three years before her term expires in order to run for governor next year.

The five other Republicans who are retiring include: Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning and Ohio Sen. George Voinovich.

Two Democrats will not run in 2010, Illinois Sen. Roland Burris and Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman. Republicans must defend 19 seats next year, while Democrats must protect 18.

Full statement from Martinez:

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.

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.

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.

(Updated 1 p.m.)

Filed under: Florida • Mel Martinez
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. Capt Kirk

    Mel Martinez is in the same group of executives who took hugh bonuses before their companies collapsed. His vote is tarnished because he didn't have the guts to stick around to see wha tkind of justice Sotomayour will be.

    August 7, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. It's the birth of the ReBirtherTea Party

    We are witness to the death rattle of the former party of Lincoln.

    August 7, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Jake AZ

    Charlie Crist wants this senate seat, and would make a great senator. But I am sure that the Cuban-American community will want one of their own to fill Sen. Martinez's post.

    August 7, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Kyle

    Who writes this stuff? Are there any human beings in our government? It doesn't matter who "warms the seat." The very mechanisms of government; the systems that exist all around our planet are outdated and behind the evolution of human thought. Let's take the next step. Life is more than just being an American or trying to make ends meet. Life is meant to be lived. Maybe Mel figured that out. I doubt it though. When will we be able to be real people and articulate our feelings in a genuine manner. It is this fake, plastic, media like interaction with the people that alienates us and keeps the masses dumbed down.

    August 7, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Matt

    Since when is it ok for our elected officials to shirk their positions like this? That's 3 in about as many weeks.

    August 7, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Dan Flores

    We need more Latinos in office. Not the Republican office however. i'm sure everyone is dying to know, whats the REAL reason he's leaving?

    August 7, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Common Sense

    I hope that his resignation is not health related.
    I hope even more that it is not in protest of unemployment figures going down or to spend time helping patriot citizens exercise their imagined right to shout down contrary opinions at public meetings.

    August 7, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. I give up

    no D/BN, VA. He has other things to do besides being a career blood sucker in DC.

    August 7, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Yep, appoint who you want to fill the seat and hope the voters will elect that person.

    But, if YOU want the seat, can you appoint yourself?

    Whatever it takes to get around ethics and morals.

    August 7, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. William

    As a long time Floridian, all I can say is "GOOD RIDDANCE" & "THE SOONER THE BETTER" !!
    From the start & throughout his swearing to represent "All Floridians", Martinez rubber stamped each & every one of Bush's disastrous policies. He sided with the far right of both the Republican Party & the so called Religious Right again & again & again. He NEVER represented the vast majority of Floridians who believe in a Woman's right to Choose (& have rights over her own body), Who believe that Gays & Lesbians are fellow citizens who deserve the same rights as everyone else, Who believe America is NOT a "Christian Country" but an inclusive country of many religions. Being a Cuban immigrant, Martinez did Nothing to repeal this country's insane relic from the Cold War's policy of "Wet Foot, Dry Foot" which allows Any Cuban who, illegally or not, can sneak onto US soil gets to stay here, no matter what. I look forward to seeing both Florida, America & the World finally be rid of sleazy, self serving, far right, homophobic, politicians like Martinez. A new era has started for us all!

    August 7, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Scott, Mizzou

    just another republican down, oh look, umemployment is starting to drop.

    August 7, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Another one bites the dust.

    Their falling like flies... Smart Republicans wanting to get away from the POO PILE !!

    August 7, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. Citizen

    Another day and another Rethuglican resigns. You have to wonder what this freak has done that he now has to run away.

    August 7, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. madison

    Hopefully his will become a seat filled by a Democrat in 2010

    August 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Joe R

    Remember, he's not a quitter! He's just quitting...only dead fish go with the flow. No more politics as usual, but by the way - the media are at fault for everything .

    Also, Obama is the Anti-Christ, born in Kenya and hell-bent on spending us all into oblivion while hating white people.

    Did I miss anything, GOP?

    Oh yeah - be sure to cheat on your wife while promoting Family Values.

    And for all you Town Hall Hooligans: Shame on you. Shame.

    August 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  16. SMJ

    What a tool! Crist will appoint himself guaranteeing him re-election in 2010. He'll turn over our state to the Lt. Gov (who is he?) until FLORIDA FINALLY DOES THE RIGHT THING IN POLITICS AND ELECTS OUR FIRST FEMALE GOVERNOR – DEMOCRAT ALEX SINK!!

    August 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Arliss

    After most of his colleagues voted No on Sotomayer he decided he did NOT want to spend anymore time with the Racist Republicans in their caucus.

    That vote got him really bent out of shape.

    August 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. leapfrog

    Mebbe he can run as Palin's veep...God, I pray she runs in 2012. I really want Obama in for a second term, and I can't think of anything to absolutely ensure a win more than Palin running and splitting the GOP vote again.

    August 7, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Tommy

    Either he's quitting because he is an honorable guy and can't stand the crap he sees going on in D.C. or he's quitting because he's got bigger fish to fry. The Republican Party is quickly becoming the Quitter's Party.

    August 7, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  20. Florida Joe

    What is with these Rebubs that just can't finish out their term.......1st the lightweight from Alaska and now Mel.........
    Don't think Crist will appoint himself but it will be interesting to see whom he chooses..................Now if we could just get Ensign & Sanford to do this..............

    August 7, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Peter V

    Perhaps Senator Martinez, like so many other logical, reasonable Republicans, doesn't like what his party has become.

    August 7, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. Rush Goebbels

    Mel wants to be President of Cuba so bad he can taste it.Dont forget to call and email Rush today,on open mike friday.He loves to hear from the people that dont agree with him,so he can hangup on them.Dont let it deter you, keep calling and emailing him,he may just answer by accident.Lets do the same thing to him that he tell the people who attend these meetings to do.

    August 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Res Ipsa Loquitor

    Mel cannot run for President because he was born in Cuba and came to the United States in Operation Peter Pan

    August 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. tony

    Republican party is finished. They have no more credibility left. Just oppose to every issue with no solutions. The country needs problem solvers instead of the usual politics that the GOP is involved in.
    GOP messed this country's economy during the 8 years of their control. Wild wall street thugs with their Repub friends destroyed the savings of most of the middle class of this country. We have been pushed back 10 years of our lives hard work and savings.

    August 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. Predicta

    Crist will just replace him with another republican, then run against that guy in the primary when the time comes. I wuldn't even be surprised if however he appoints will step aside for Crist come election time.

    August 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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