Florida. Gov. Charlie Crist (R) has asked former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Roberto Martinez to submit a questionnaire for consideration to fill the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by retiring Sen. Mel Martinez, The Miami Herald reported today.
Roberto Martinez was the Miami-based U.S. Attorney in the early 1990s. He currently serves on the Florida Board of Education and is a partner at the law firm of Colson, Hicks, Eidson in Coral Gables, Fla.
Crist announced in May that he will run for the seat himself next year, putting him in an awkward position. He needs to select a replacement who is both competent but not a threat to his own ambitions. Crist is scheduled to interview Roberto Martinez at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Miami International Airport. The Herald reports that while Roberto Martinez is a Republican, he is “far less partisan (than Mel Martinez), having never run for public office or immersed himself in GOP politics.”
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials is urging Crist to select a Hispanic to replace Mel Martinez, the first Cuban American to serve in the U.S. Senate. Roberto Martinez was born in Cuba.
Other individuals under consideration by Crist to replace Mel Martinez include former Florida Secretary of State Jim Smith and Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who on Monday in a statement said he would not seek the seat, The Hill reported.
UPDATE: TampaBay.com reported that Crist offered the job to Roberto Martinez in their afternoon conversation. When asked whether he officially made the offer to Roberto Martinez, Crist said, “We had a lovely conversation. The process will continue.” Crist called Roberto Martinez a “brilliant man” and “a dear friend and a loyal ally,” The Palm Beach Post reported.