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. 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 |
  2. 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 |
  3. Tommy Boy

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

    August 7, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. 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 |
  5. 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 |
  6. 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 |
  7. 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 |
  8. 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 |
  9. 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 |
  10. 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 |
  11. Obama 2.0

    Please become an Independent!

    August 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Joe Publicini

    Why are the Democrats wondering why he resigned? To quote a Democrat, Let's worry about the business of the country. Also, the party of NO rant is weak. What, we are all supposed to... bow down before the emperor and not question his authority?

    August 7, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. jazzer

    Pleeeeeez.Lets send Christ some where other than washington.He just signed a bill to lower our real estate taxes.Then he doubled our auto tags what a deal gov Christ.good by. Heaven help us if he becomes a sen.

    August 7, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. They call me "tater salad"!

    Being from New Hampshire, I'll be glad to see Judd Gregg hit the road! He's just one more "unproductive" waste of taxpayer dollars who really didn't have a prayer as far as getting re-elected goes and he knows it!

    August 7, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. suzi

    I hope Christ doesn't appoint himself(or maybe I do:-) it sure backfired on Wendy Anderson of Mn, when he tried it. He dropped off the political radar at election time.Gone, never to be heard from again in Mn.

    August 7, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Kasey

    I hear Palin is looking for a job.

    August 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. GI Joe

    Crist will appoint Jeb Bush – another right-wing W follower.

    August 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. David in SanDiego

    Even center-right Republican'ts are finding it uncomfortable to be GOPhers. Look to California to lead–the CA party-of-no somehow finds a way to commit electoral suicide at least twice a year, and the redistricting that conservative GOPhers pursued so strongly will reomve their ability to hold up a budget. Crist wouldn't be a bad choice–resign as Governor and let the Lt. Gov. appoint him. It is good when the NRA starts shooting at their own supporters for not being 100% faithful. I guess that's what the Constitution meant about petitioning the government for grievances–powerful, moneyed special interest lobbies dominating the parties.

    August 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. Bridgette

    When you carry on with the mob mentality you can't call foul because someone or some group is out mobbing you. If they don't believe in Universal Health Care then that is their right as an American citizens, but, what they don't have the right to do is stop everyone else from hearing what these people have to say. I don't know if I believe in this or not but one the things I have a right to do is here my representative. So I have no sypmapthy for those people in Florida that got pushed around. But someone is going to have to step in and stop this because it is a matter of time before someone gets hurt. The Republicans have no answers and they have a thug mentality. The problem is now you have real thugs coming and I am afraid one of these senior citizens will get hurt. Let's stop all of this madness.

    August 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Travis

    Don't blame him. No reason to stay and watch losers like Pelosi and Reid destroy America. I would go home and start hidding money in the back yard while these wackos are in office.

    August 7, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Pete East

    Thank you for your service to your constituents and your country Senator Martinez. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

    August 7, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. parker

    Looks like a lot of "Republicans" that hate Republicans, love socialism and radical libralism are contributing to the thread. Hillarious. What a bunch of fools as they do their job as democrats – – that is lie about things right to our faces.

    August 7, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Alpha and Omega - The Great Physician Against Republicans

    One less Republican on the road. This is great news.

    August 7, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Bubba

    After what his party just said about all Hispanics, It's no wonder he's kicking them to the curb.

    August 7, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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