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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist says 'process continues,' 'not yet' on Congressman Young



For a U.S. Senate candidate seeking free headlines and attention, this game of "who will fill the Mel seat" sure is a boon for 2010 candidate Gov. Charlie Crist.

He is charged with appointing Mel Martinez's temporary replacement, and the rumor and buzz mill on who he'll pick is hopping today. The latest: He offered the post to former U.S. Attorney  Roberto "Bobby" Martinez in a meeting in Miami earlier this afternoon.

After the 45-minute meeting, Crist declined to release any new names he is considering to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. He said of Bobby Martinez, the former U.S. attorney, "I think the world of him, and this process will continue for a period of time.''

Asked whether his Cuban heritage was a factor in replacing the Cuban-born senator, Crist said, "Certainly it's a factor. The greater factor is the tremendous integrity Bobby Martinez possesses, the great intellect that God and his parents have given him, and the wonderful heart that he has. Those things are incredibly important to me.''

Asked about Martinez's lack of Capitol Hill experience, Crist said he is looking for "a balance of a lot of different factors that are important, experience among them. Public safety is an important issue, and it's hard to find many people who have had more experience than Bobby Martinez as it relates to public safety as a former U.S. attorney...I know he's a great Republican and he's a dear friend, and I'm sure he would have the interests and concerns of the people of Florida at heart."

Martinez said: "It was a great honor to be meeting wth Gov. Crist. We discussed a lot of issues, and I'd like to keep it in confidence for the time being. He's going to make his decision, and whatever it is I'll support it and I'm sure it will be the right one."

Okay, political junkies. Commence with the theories and buzz...

--Beth Reinhard and Shannon Colavecchio

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


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