Crist U.S. Senate list not limited to Martinez and Smithby Dara Kam | August 18th, 2009
Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to request more candidates to apply to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez after initially asking three GOP allies to apply.
U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart withdrew his name from the list late last evening, the day before Crist is scheduled to meet with another Hispanic potential replacement, former U.S. prosecutor Bobby Martinez.
Crist will meet with Martinez at the Miami airport at 1 p.m. today.
Crist hasn’t scheduled an interview yet with former secretary of state and attorney general Jim Smith – now a Tallahassee lobbyist – the last of the three candidates the governor asked last week to apply for the job.
But he said today the “short list” isn’t limited to just Smith and Martinez.
Crist called Bobby Martinez a “brilliant man” and “a dear friend and a loyal ally.”
But, he added, “There are others who we’ll be interviewing, too. And I look forward to the process.”
Crist, who is running against former House Speaker Marco Rubio in a GOP primary in November to replace Martinez, cited integrity rather than someone who would mirror his own votes Congress as his top priority in making the selection.
“I have to appoint somebody who in my belief number one has great integrity, will serve our fellow Floridians with honor and will do an incredible job of making sure that we continue to be well represented in both seats in the United States Senate,” Crist told reporters after a morning meeting with educators at the governor’s mansion. “Those are my primary considerations.”