August 7th, 2009
03:05 PM ET
11 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. Michigan Independent

    If I were a Republican, I would resign too...they embarrass themselves EVERY day!

    August 7, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. Melissa

    Interesting. Why is he quitting? This is becoming an epidemic with the Republicans since they lost the Presidency. "If you can't win everything, quit". It doesn't speak too highly of the Republicans.

    August 7, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Richie

    Heaven forbid a republican would finish out their last term... QUITTERS

    August 7, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Fred

    So it this a Palin v.2?

    I've always thought elected officials should stay for the entirety of their terms. Otherwise, why not ask them all to step back and take a break?

    August 7, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. John

    Setting up Governor to be the incumbent running in 2010 instead of the newcomer, I see?

    August 7, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. mr. D

    good.....one less repubelican --
    we would've voted him out in 2010 anyway.....

    GOP = PARTY OF NO

    NO IDEAS **** NO FUTURE

    August 7, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. sms29s

    What is this? The new trend among Republicans, pulling a Palin? Do we know what his reasons are? Will this prevent Crist from filling the seat himself? Will this guarantee that the seat remains in Republican hands (to mix body part metaphors)?

    August 7, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Dennis in Indiana

    So is this the latest trend among the GOP? If you aren't going to run again, just quit NOW? Palin did it, and now this guy. I's too bad G.W. Bush didn't do that right after he was elected the second time.

    August 7, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. Kevin -- Evansville, Indiana

    Maybe he was turned-off by the Republican platform of "racism against Hispanics"?

    August 7, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Chop

    Martinez-Palin 2012

    August 7, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. duh ray ray

    I think Mel wants to become Cubas President someday and reopen all the casinos that were there.

    August 7, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. vanessa

    hmmmmm...maybe Charlie is a little nevous about the election and wants to appoint himself? Gain a little lep up on his competition?

    August 7, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Bananarama Victim II: Electric Boogaloo

    Sex scandal? On to be a lobbyist? More money in the private sector? What is this recent GOP drop-out's reason for throwing in the towel earlier than expected?

    Well, either way it's a good thing a Republican will likely step in for him. The more voices yelling blind opposition the better! Party of No-leaders, Party of No-solutions, Party of No-facts, Party of No-commitement, and clearly a Party of No-sense.

    It is nice, however that they gave President Obama a full 200 days to fix everything before calling him a failure...wait, what? They didn't?

    August 7, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. GI Joe

    Hmm – will Crst come out of the closet before or after the Senatorial elections?

    August 7, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. Linda

    What criminal thing did another Reslug, Martinez, do to resign early???

    August 7, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. John

    Good for USA.

    All GOP Senators must Resign, for the betterment and well being of USA.

    GOP ideology has ruined our Country, both econimically and reputation.

    GOP has created enemies for us all over the world.

    Bush and Cheney should be in Jail for misleading Americans into Iraq war, by falsifying the Intelligence report of WMDs of Iraq.

    GOP is the Defunct Party. It is not Gone, Finished and All Done.

    August 7, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Christopher

    So Palin IS a Maverick, she's trailblazed a trend of GOP resignations!

    August 7, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. John

    Good for USA.

    All GOP Senators must Resign, for the betterment and well being of USA.

    GOP ideology has ruined our Country, both econimically and reputation.

    GOP has created enemies for us all over the world.

    Bush and Cheney should be in Jail for misleading Americans into Iraq war, by falsifying the Intelligence report of WMDs of Iraq.

    GOP is the Defunct Party. It is Gone, Finished and All Done.

    August 7, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Floridian

    Mel Martinez isn't a bad guy, but he hasn't stayed in a single seat for the last 12 years for a full term!

    August 7, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Tim from Tampa

    That's a shame. Martinez has been a good senator... one of the few with a spine. He'll be eventually replaced by Crist, the insurance company's toady.

    August 7, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. landshark

    Can you say Flordia Governor Sarah Palin!

    August 7, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Howard

    If Crist runs for the vacant senate seat as expected, will his opponent run as the anti-Crist?

    Won't go over well with the evangelical vote.

    August 7, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. S Callahan

    lol Irony!

    August 7, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. steve

    Put simply, Sen Martinez is embarrassed of his party.
    It is a party taken over by extremists like Limbugh, Beck and Hannity. What a sad state of affair in the party of Lincoln.

    August 7, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Larry

    Watch Christ appoint himself.

    August 7, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
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