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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist will meet with Bobby Martinez Tuesday as Diaz-Balart pulls out for U.S. Senate



Gov. Charlie Crist's schedule shows a 1 p.m. meeting Tuesday with Roberto "Bobby" Martinez at Miami International Airport. The former U.S. Attorney is one of the candidates for the vacant U.S. Senate seat -- and perhaps the front-runner given new developments.

Martinez Late tonight, Lincoln Diaz-Balart withdrew his name from consideration. “After giving the Governor’s request serious consideration and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the U.S. House of Representatives fighting for the causes which I deeply believe in.”

Crist's inclusion of Diaz-Balart on the shortlist created some intriguing scenarios. But it also raised the question why the long-serving congressman would give up his tenure for a caretaker assignment lasting 16 months.

Martinez, 56, served on Crist’s gubernatorial transition team in 2006 and in 2002 as Crist was elected Attorney General. Crist named Martinez to the now-defunct Taxation and Budget Reform Commission and earlier this year, the governor re-appointed him to the state Board of Education. Martinez is Cuban, like the man he would replace, Mel Martinez.

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


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