FIU president Mel Martinez?
Practically the day Mel Martinez announced he would not seek a second term in 2010, the (unsubstantiated) rumor spread fast and furious that Martinez would step down early and take a job as president of a Florida university while Crist appointed a Republican successor (more recently, the speculation moved to Crist's stepping down and new Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's appointing Crist to the Senate).
Martinez, his office and even state GOP chairman Jim Greer have dismissed the idea of Martinez's leaving before his term is up. But because Buzz is always happy to offer up fodder for rampant speculation, we'll note that that FIU is beginning a hunt for a new president, which is already prompting more speculation about Martinez. From the Herald:
Strong academic experience. Proven fundraising abilities. Able to deal with a diverse community. These are some of the qualifications the advisory committee charged with finding Florida International University's next president will be looking for as the search kicks off in earnest next week to replace the retiring Modesto ''Mitch'' Maidique.
For Mel, a diehard Nole, two out of three qualifications ain't bad.
The bottom line in all this is that we know only one thing for sure about the Republican field: Charlie Crist is not ruling out running, and until he does, the likes of Vern Buchanan, Connie Mack and Marco Rubio will have a harder time raising big bucks.