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Crist puts Dan Webster on list of U.S. Senate candidates

by Dara Kam | August 20th, 2009

WebsterGov. Charlie Crist added former House Speaker Daniel Webster to the list of possible appointments to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez who announced his resignation earlier this month.

Webster is the seventh politician tapped by Crist to apply for the post, which he is leaving office after one term to pursue.

Webster served in the Florida legislature for two decades, winning election to the Florida House where he served as speaker from 1996-1998 before leaving for the state senate where he eventually became Majority Leader.

Webster, an engineer who owns a heating and air conditioning business in Orlando, is a favorite of conservative Republicans who have pressured Crist appoint him to fill Martinez’ seat. Webster actively supported Gov. Mike Huckabee in his presidential bid.

Crist has interviewed several candidates over the past several days:
- State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, R-Jacksonville, the legislature’s only black Republican;
- University of North Florida President John Delaney, Jacksonville’s former mayor and a long-time Crist supporter;
- Miami trial lawyer Bobby Martinez, who served as a U.S. Attorney, headed Crist’s transition team and was appointed to the state Board of Education by Gov. Jeb Bush and reappointed by Crist;
- George LeMieux, Crist’s former chief of staff who also managed his gubernatorial campaign and remains close to the governor.

He’s also considering at least two others:
- Jim Smith, a former Florida Cabinet member who served as both attorney general and secretary of state. Smith, who switched parties from Democrat to Republican, is now a top-tier Tallahassee lobbyist whose partner, Brian Ballard, is also his son-in-law and one of Crist’s chief advisors.
- Long-serving U.S. Rep. Bill Young, an Indian Shores Republican from Crist’s hometown of Pinellas County. Young is in his 20th term in Congress.

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5 Responses to “Crist puts Dan Webster on list of U.S. Senate candidates”

  1. Whatawonderfulworld Says:

    oh dear, i hope not…

  2. monson Says:

    I didn’t know that Crist owned an HVAC business in Orlando. It would be interesting to know if this HVAC business is a geothermal HVAC business. It just seems like that would be logical since he is a politician and politicians are pushing for an energy efficient country.

  3. Post On Politics » Blog Archive » Post on Politics - Says:

    [...] Former U.S. Reps. Mike Bilirakis, Lou Frey and Clay Shaw are now among the candidates Crist is considering, bringing his list to ten. [...]

  4. skippy Says:

    In addition to being practical and providing a luxurious atmosphere, geothermal heat pumps are exceptionally good for the environment and extremely safe. These systems do not have on-site emissions or flammable materials. By eliminating any combustion you do not have to worry about fumes, odors, or carbon monoxide in your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if just 100,000 homes converted to a geothermal heating and cooling system, carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 880 million pounds. Currently, atmospheric CO2 is 30% higher than it was 200 years ago and if not reduced can cause serious detrimental global impacts. Geothermal technology offers a wonderful solution to lowering these greenhouse gases.

  5. D. K. Harris Says:


    Crist does NOT have the authority or right to appoint a replacement for quitter Mel. Mel did not die. Mel did not have a personal or family emergency. Mel just quit.

    He didn’t HAVE to quit. He CHOSE to quit. Therefore, he is NOT allowed to vote, or sit in, on any further senate business — AND NO REPLACEMENT SHALL BE APPOINTED FOR HIM, NOR ANY SPECIAL ELECTION HELD. Period.

    Mel’s seat, by law, has to remain vacant, unfilled, and his supporters unrepresented, until next year’s regular election. PERIOD.

    Now, for the rest of the story, and the legal, as well as moral, reason why Mel’s seat STAYS EMPTY until full and fair regular elections.

    Never mind Crist’s conflict of interest. Never mind the cost to taxpayers and bureaucratic nightmare of setting up a special election. The simple fact is that Martinez JUST QUIT.

    Now ask: why would a SENATOR just QUIT?

    For do-nothings like Mel (and face facts, Melly-boy is not exactly known as a hard worker), it’s not a demanding job. It pays quite well. It has loads of perqs. It gets you lots of simpering sycophants. So why, all of a sudden, just QUIT?

    Well, most of the rightwing quitters lately have been fleeing one step ahead of criminal charges. But Melly-boy’s crimes have all been pretty minor, compared to his good buddies in the Bushiosi.

    Ah, there we have it. Mel has never succeeded at anything on his own. He’s always had to ride coat-tails. And his free rides suddenly dried up. In fact, his free rides are looking around pretty desperately themselves these days, as people get increasingly fed up with the obstructionism, regressiveness, and pathetic excuses of the big-money party, who have been partying at our expense, and taking their champagne-years for granted, ever since the “greed is good” Reagan days.

    The simple fact is, coat-tail-less Martinez doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Miami of getting re-elected. So the RNC cooked up this plan for him to “retire” ahead of schedule, so they could worm another candidate into his place….

    Who, not so incidentally, would have more than a year to campaign and advertise himself, AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE, with those four-color “progress reports,” those “look at me” releases and photo-ops, and taxpayer-funded web sites and e-spam.

    (Remember, it’s not just a senator we’re bank-rolling, it’s his dozens and dozens of “support staff,” most of them relatives and the inlaws of campaign donors.)

    So what Charlie and Mel and the RNC are plotting is nothing but a free year of campaigning. Well, not “free” — WE have to pay for it — but free to THEM.

    Ths is EXACTLY why the law prohibits a partisan appointment replacement for someone who JUST QUITS. If they die, or an emergency arises, yes. But if they resign in disgrace, or run away before they can be caught at something, then NO.

    Fulfilling the job for which you were elected, or facing the music when the stuff comes down, is called “taking responsibility.” For some reason (well, aside from the inconvenient but undeniable fact that they’re idiots and nutcases as well as hypocrites by definition), the clan of inbreds has always talked a lot about taking responsibility.

    (Notice that they’re not so big on walking the walk, but what do you expect from a political bent that PRIDES itself on “not being the smartest guy in the room”?)

    MEL JUST QUIT. Inconvenient but undeniable fact.

    When you QUIT your job, your boss is the ONLY one with the right to replace you. Not your coworkers, not your buddies, not some guy you do occasional business with. If you die or become incapacitated, sure, someone can fill in on an emergency basis.

    But when you QUIT, the job is not filled without a proper hiring process.

    In this case, the “boss” is WE, THE PEOPLE, and the “hiring process” is a FULL AND FAIR ELECTION. Not one rigged at the last minute. Not one with a candidate’s foot already in the door, with skids greased by a coworker, while OUR salaries are tapped to pay HIS way.

    By announcing that he was QUITTING, Mel removed himself, BY HIS OWN ACTIONS, from any further influence in the senate. ‘Bye, Mel, and don’t leave the office in a mess.

    But since it was HIS OWN CHOICE — and even without regard for the nefarious machinations intended to stick us with the bill for another walk-in — then his business-buddy does NOT choose his replacement. Only his boss does.

    And his boss is THE VOTERS.

    Sorry, Charlie. You and Mel can go fishing or something, but Florida and the senate are down one seat until January, 2011. PERIOD.

    And hey, everyone who doesn’t like that plain fact? Next time, don’t vote for a quitter.

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