Greer: No one knew Martinez would quit until he quitby Dara Kam | August 12th, 2009
Gov. Charlie Crist and top GOP officials didn’t know of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez’s decision to resign early until the senator issued a press release on Friday, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer told reporters this morning.
“There is no one who actually knew the event was actually going to take place until immediately prior to or immediately surrounding that statement,” Greer said.
Although rumors that Martinez would step down early circulated for more than six months prior to his resignation, Greer said Martinez repeatedly assured him he was not quitting. Sort of.
“He would say, ‘No I’m not resigning. Tomorrow,” Greer said.
And despite speculation that Martinez quit early to make it easier for Crist to succeed him, Greer said the senator quit to spend more time with his family and not to help the governor.
“There was no connection between Gov. Crist’s campaign for Senate and Sen. Martinez resigning. Both the governor and I and other leaders recognized that it was happening and it was actually happening on the day the statement was released. So
There can always be theories of why this occurred but there was no connection,” Greer insisted.
Greer also attempted to quash reports that conservatives are dissatisfied with Crist, just hours before Palm Beach County Republicans vote on whether to censure the governor for not being Republican enough.
“The governor does not have a problem with the Republican Party, likely Republican voters. He’s leading in every poll, including likely Republican voters,” Greer said. “But there is a frustration among Republicans across this country. At times, people try and identify where they can take their frustrations out and sometimes it doesn’t even have anything to do with the person.”
Palm Beach County’s Republican Executive Committee tonight will consider a resolution to censure Gov. Charlie Crist for bucking the GOP on a variety of matters.
Greer refused to weigh in on whom Crist will choose to fill out the rest of Martinez’ term until the November election.
Crist is “close to his chest” on the matter, Greer said, and “will not be led down paths regardless of who’s trying to lead him.”