When Mel Martinez announced that he would not be finishing his term as Senator from Florida those of us in my corner replied with a “WTH?” Now that the chatter has gone from zero to sixty in a blink of the eye, everyone wants to know, who will Gov. Crist appoint? The question becomes all the more important because Crist is running for the seat himself, giving him the incentive to appoint a “seat warmer”.
Chris Cilliza at The Fix lists the likely choices:
• Jim Smith: A former secretary of state, attorney general and party switcher (he went from Democrat to Republican after a failed primary run for governor in 1986) Smith was seen as the odds-on favorite on Friday.
Okay, he has been a Republican since 1986 but there is something unseemly about a politician who changes sides only because they’ve lost out in there original party.
• Bob Martinez: Martinez, the former mayor of Tampa and governor of the Sunshine State from 1986 to 1990 (he also switched from Democrat to Republican, in 1983), is still very much in the mix, and would allow Crist to keep that seat in the hands of a senator of Hispanic background
What is it with Charlie Crist and switch hitters? Anyway, Martinez was well liked as mayor of Tampa and is considered a fairly staunch conservative (at least compared to Crist).
• Allan Bense: Bense, the former speaker of the state House, is a trusted conservative from the state's Panhandle and has been mentioned for statewide office several times before. (National Republicans tried unsuccessfully to recruit Bense to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson in 2006.)
A good conservative. A good choice.
• George Lemieux: Lemieux is Crist's most loyal deputy, having served as his chief of staff in the state attorney general's office and having run Crist's campaign for governor in 2006. Lemieux was rumored as a potential candidate for the open attorney general job in 2010 but decided against a run.
A seat warmer. Loyal to Crist which means he would be a less than conservative senator.
• Jeb Bush: Bush, the popular former governor
Be still my heart, Christmas in August. Don’t see it happening but a girl can hope.
I’ve made no secret of my support for Marco Rubio in the Rubio/Crist match up. While I don’t expect Crist to do it, he could tamp down some of the RINO talk by appointing a solid conservative. Whoever gets the nod, it will say a lot about Crist himself.