News & Updates


Governor is intent on filling open seat

By Jeremy Wallace

Published: Friday, August 14, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 8:34 p.m. 

PUNTA GORDA – Gov. Charlie Crist offered few new insights on Thursday about whom he would appoint to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, but made clear that he will not appoint someone who wants to run for the seat in 2010.

Crist When asked if he would make a condition for anyone he appoints not to run against him for the seat in 2010, Crist said, "I think it will be presumed."

Crist also confirmed that he has created a list of "six or seven" replacements, but declined to name them.

Martinez, a Republican from Orlando, on Friday abruptly quit the U.S. Senate, saying he wants to spend more time with his family. That requires Crist to appoint a replacement for the remaining 15 months of Martinez’s term.

Crist said one of the first people he talked to about the opening was former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III, a Republican who lives in Charlotte County. Mack turned him down.

"I did talk to him," Crist said just before speaking at an event in Punta Gorda to mark the fifth-year anniversary of Hurricane Charley.

With the Senate expected to debate health care reform and global climate change legislation this fall, Crist said it would not be a bad idea to have a candidate with Washington experience, but he then quickly added that this was "not indispensable."

Since Martinez announced he would not run, Crist’s office has received dozens of recommendations from politicians and resumes from ordinary citizens hoping to replace Martinez.

Crist said his goal is to have someone in the position before the Senate returns to Washington in September. He said it was unlikely he would have someone in place as soon as next week.

Jeremy Wallace can be reached at 361-4966 or