(CNN) - Two former Republican senators from key early voting states are endorsing Mitt Romney's bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
The Romney campaign announced Monday that former Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and former Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida are supporting the former Massachusetts governor, who is making his second bid for the White House.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.getty.crist.jpg caption="Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday he would not appoint himself to fill the remaining time left in Sen. Mel Martinez's."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday he would not appoint himself to fill the remaining time left in Sen. Mel Martinez's, R-Florida, Senate term.
Crist, who is running for Martinez's seat, would not speculate on who he might appoint to fill the remaining term, but the governor also noted that "there is not a long list of candidates" for the position.
"This is a very serious thing and I recognize that," Crist told reporters at a briefing in Florida.
"There is not a short list," he said. "There is not a long list, but I am getting a lot of calls and recommendations and volunteers."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/02/art.martinez1.gi.jpg caption="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.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/17/art.snowe0716.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Olympia Snowe announced Friday her support for Sonia Sotomayor."](CNN) - GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Mel Martinez of Florida Friday both publicly announced their support for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, bringing the tally of Republican senators supporting Obama's pick to three.
"Judge Sotomayor is knowledgeable of the law, would be a fair and impartial judge, and seems to have a good understanding of the limited role the judiciary plays in our democracy," Martinez said in a statement.
Martinez, who was born in Cuba, also praised the historic nature of Sotomayor's nomination.
"As an Hispanic American, I take great pride in Judge Sotomayor's historic achievement. Given her qualifications and testimony this week, I intend to vote in favor of her confirmation."
Snowe said in a statement she was impressed with Sotomayor's performance at the hearings. "She appears neither rigid nor dogmatic in her approach to the essential task of constitutional interpretation," Snowe said.
Earlier Friday, Indiana Republican Dick Lugar also announced his support of Sotomayor.
(CNN) – Former Florida Republican House Speaker Marco Rubio announced Tuesday he will run for Senate in 2010.
In a video released on his campaign website Tuesday, the attorney from Miami declared his candidacy, maintaing his run for Mel Martinez's vacant Senate seat will not "be a campaign against anyone, nor will it be a campaign against anything."
"This is a campaign for the kind of ideas that will change our country for the better," Rubio says citing tax reform and a balanced budget amendment. "Let's be frank, neither Republicans nor Democrats have been able to control runaway government spending."
Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist is considering a bid, and Rep. Kendrick Meek and state Sen. Dan Gelber, both Democrats from the Miami-Dade area, have announced their candidacy. Rubio acknowledges the potential competition in his video.
"I know that there are people who are more famous than I who may enter this race and I know that the President of the United States himself will travel to Florida to campaign and raise money against me," the Florida lawyer says. "But nothing in life worth doing is easy and I believe that this is worth doing."
Florida Sen. Mel Martinez announced in December he will not seek reelection in 2010.
(CNN) – Former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith is running for Sen. Mel Martinez's Florida seat, according to a report Thursday by the New Hampshire Union Leader.
The Republican, who now lives in Sarasota, Florida, reportedly made the announcement in a letter to supporters and friends.
"'I have agonized over whether to re-enter national politics,'" Smith reportedly wrote in the letter. "'I have concluded that I can no longer sit on the sidelines in this fight for the soul of America.'"
Smith plans to launch a Web site and file the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission soon, according to the report.
Martinez is retiring in 2010. Florida Democrat Rep. Kendrick Meek has announced a run for the open seat while fellow Florida Democrat Alex Sink has announced she is not running. On the Republican side, there is widespread speculation that Gov. Charlie Crist may seek to replace Martinez.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/08/art.getty.fidel.castro.jpg caption= "Fidel Castro praised the seven Democratic congressional delegates and alleges that one member said that despite President Obama's electoral victory, 'America continues to be racist.' "](CNN) - A Missouri congressman is denying former Cuban president Fidel Castro's claim that a member of the fact-finding delegation described the U.S. as "racist."
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is one of the seven lawmakers who visited the island nation on a congressional delegation. Members of the CBC met with President Raul Castro and three of which met with brother, Fidel, at the home of the Cuban revolutionary leader.
In a statement released by the Cuban government, Fidel Castro praised the seven Democratic congressional delegates and alleges that one member said that despite President Obama's electoral victory, "America continues to be racist." The former Cuban president would not disclose the name of the delegate who allegedly made such statement.
Cleaver denied such a comment was ever made at a news conference following the delegation's return Tuesday night.
"That did not happen," Cleaver said
Rep. Barbara Lee, chairwoman of the CBC who led the delegation to Cuba, said she did "not have any comment with regard to that. I am not privy to anyone saying that in any meaning. I don't remember that."
Cuban-American Republican lawmakers blasted the CBC members' visits with Raul and Fidel Castro.
"Regardless of one's position on US Cuba policy, one would expect that any US official or Member of Congress visiting Cuba would have the courage to meet with members of Cuba's struggling independent civil society and raise concerns about the regime's systematic violation of human rights with Cuban officials," Florida Sen. Mel Martinez said in a statement issued Wednesday.
"To meet with the Castro brothers and not bring up the subject of their appalling human rights abuses is a shameful missed opportunity," Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also said in a statement.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/03/art.getty.martinez.graham.jpg caption="Sen. Mel Martinez and Sen. Lindsey Graham said they plan to present their ideas to fellow Republicans at their weekly policy lunch today."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Ten Republican senators met in Sen. Mel Martinez's office Tuesday morning to discuss a broader stimulus measure than their leadership is proposing - but a narrower one than Democrats are considering.
CNN was the only news organization outside the meeting.
Afterwards, Martinez told CNN the details are still being debated and finalized, but they are looking at a ballpark figure of $500 billion, including the cost of tax cuts, infrastructure and military spending, and provisions to address the housing crisis.
Martinez and Sen. Lindsey Graham said they plan to present their ideas to fellow Republicans at their weekly policy lunch today.
The eclectic group of Republicans, spanning the ideological spectrum from the most conservative to the most moderate GOP senators, assembled over concerns their leadership's approach - to focus exclusively on the housing crisis and tax cuts - is enough to jumpstart the economy.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins told CNN the group believes a "realistic alternative" to the Democratic proposal is needed. "The worst thing we can do is just say no," she said. Sen. John McCain said they are trying to come up with a better package to create jobs.
The group of senators included John McCain, Mel Martinez, Saxby Chambliss, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, George Voinovich, Tom Coburn, John Thune, Johnny Isakson, and Lindsey Graham.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/02/art.getty.crist.jpg caption="The lure of Washington might be enough to convince Gov. Charlie Crist to run for the Senate in 2010."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is not ruling out a run for the Senate in 2010, but for now is focusing all of his attention on the legislative session, a top ally tells CNN.
“The governor is not closing the door, but he is not necessarily opening it,” Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer said in an interview this afternoon. “He is focused on being governor and focused on solving the challenges that Floridians are facing right now.”
Greer said that Crist “enjoys being the governor,” and “at times he is a little frustrated with D.C., like all Americans.”
Still, the lure of Washington might be enough to convince Crist to run for the Senate in 2010. His entry into the race would be embraced by Senate Republicans, who are concerned that they could lose the seat that is now held by retiring GOP Sen. Mel Martinez.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/04/art.getty.jeb.georgehw.jpg caption="Former President George H. W. Bush says son, Jeb, possesses all the qualities necessary to win the White House."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - His son hasn’t left the White House yet, but former president George H. W. Bush is already thinking about the next Bush who might one day move in. The elder Bush says his oldest son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has all the qualities necessary to occupy the Oval Office.
“I’d like to see him run, I’d like to see him be president some day,” the nation’s 41st chief executive declared on “Fox News Sunday.” He is “as qualified and as able as anyone I know in the political scene."
However, the senior Bush acknowledged, “Right now is probably a bad time, because we've got enough Bushes in there.”
In the meantime, the former president suggested his son would make an “outstanding senator” because Jeb “really has a feel for people, the issues in Florida and nationally, and his political days ought not to be over, says his old father.”
The current President Bush agrees, openly saying he would like to see his brother run for the Florida Senate seat, replacing outgoing Republican incumbent Mel Martinez in 2010.