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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Betty Castor: 'Hard to put myself in Mel's shoes'



Photos-fl-castor We caught up with Betty Castor, Mel Martinez's opponent in the hard-fought, nail biter election of 2004.

"I thought he wanted to be a Senator," Castor said. "After the campaign I moved on and did other things but these Senate seats are very hard to come by and our race was one where we both spent over $10 million. It's very spirited and not something anyone enters into lightly. So it's a surprise that someone who fought so hard for it then walks away."

"I would have finished my term," she said with a laugh. "As somebody who's been in public policy, I really love it. So it's hard for me to think of someone who doesn't really have that intense commitment. It's hard for me to put myself in his shoes."

Castor said Gov. Charlie Crist has some decent possibilities for a replacement, including former Gov. Bob Martinez of Tampa. "I just hope it will be someone who has already shown some commitment to the state. Of course it will be a Republican and someone who will probably be somewhat partisan, but I hope it's someone who understands Florida's needs."

Martinez got 49.4 percent of the vote; Castor got 48.3 percent.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 3:57pm]


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