August 7th, 2009
03:05 PM ET
5 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. 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 |
  2. 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 |
  3. madison

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

    August 7, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. 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 |
  5. 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 |
  6. 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 |
  7. 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 |
  8. 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 |
  9. 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 |
  10. 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 |
  11. 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 |
  12. 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 |
  13. 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 |
  14. 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 |
  15. dave

    Hopefully the Repubs can get somebody in there to fight against Obama and Team Evil.

    The Obamas and Pelosis of the world have the advantage of not having a soul or moral conscience. Leftist scum are like that.

    Still, decency will triumph in the end. Evil men like Obama will eventually be defeated. The fight against tyranny is always difficult, but always noble.

    August 7, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. PROUD to be the Party of NO socialism!

    No, Crist isn't going to appoint himself.

    No, the GOP isn't going anywhere. In fact, they are going to win BOTH important races this year (New Jersey and Virginia).

    No, Martinez isn't resigning because of a scandal.

    No, no one expeects Obama to solve all of our problems overnight. What we don't want, of course, is for him to make things worse with his socialistic fantasies.

    Anything else?

    August 7, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Tommy Boy

    How simply "mavericky" of him......."You betcha!" Now get out!

    August 7, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. miles moxley

    I am outraged at this. It is all a cospiracy to get the guns from the hands of law obiding americans......and more government control.i have never been more afraid for americans than now.Then what will stop the gov. or forein enemies from taking us out?WE are sadly on the precipice of civil war and losing our constitutional rights that protect the fabric of our very freedom.

    August 7, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Ron In California

    Some say it's a delima for Crist...did you know he could name himself as the replacement for Martinez. He could then go into the election as a sitting Senator. The Lt. Gov of Fla would then become Gov. Hope the Lt. Gov is a Repub.

    August 7, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. frank, pennsylvania

    He is a polished gentleman, who would not like to be poluted by "the party of no" It is painful for a gentleman to be part of the bang wagon that make up the republicans in congress! Just look at their reaction to the recent jobless report, their reaction to the stimulus package, their reaction to the sotomayo nomination, their reaction to every step taken by obama has been completely unconstructive! Rather continue with a retinue of palpable disservice to the nation, it is better to resign! I admire Martinez and a few GOP members who still stand by the truth.

    August 7, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. lou in Miami

    This is the best news... he is the most ineffective and worthless Senator. Unfortunately Charlie is lining up for the job and he is worst.

    August 7, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. prophet

    Lets wait for his reason instead of speculating. I am sure he is not going on a reality tv show. He is in government you know.

    August 7, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Virginia

    I hope that skunk Jeb Bush doesn't try to replace him. As one of Jebbie's Florida citizens when he was governor, I absolutely do not want him as state senator. If you thought George was devious and underhanded, you haven't seen anything yet. This Bush is smarter and slyer and isn't what we need representing us.

    August 7, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. demo whiner

    Dems whine, do nothing. Hey, The black spider; youse guys need to larn tu spell, heh heh – you going over there b4 you no

    August 7, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. Obama 2.0

    Please become an Independent!

    August 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14