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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

No home-run options for Crist's Senate pick

18

August

Anybody else struck by how it seems Gov. Charlie Crist has no great options for picking an interim U.S. senator to replace Mel Martinez? With the likes of former Sen. Connie Mack and Toni Jennings taking a pass, the best option arguably was Lincoln Diaz-Balart, particularly if it paved the way for Marco Rubio to jump from his Senate campaign into a House campaign. Let's review some of the names swirling:

Roberto Martinez. Well respected, along with every other oft-mentioned name. But he'd have a Washington learning curve, and how will the GOP base like Crist appointing someone who has contributed to Democratic senators including John Edwards, Chuck Robb and Bob Menendez, as well as candidate Dan Gelber?

C.W. Bill Young. Nobody has more Washington experience, but Young has given no indication that he intends to retire at the end of this term. Does the cash-strapped Florida GOP really want to open up Florida's most competitive congressional seat?

Jim Smith: That whole lobbyist question. Is the People's Governor really eager to appoint one of Florida's top lobbyists, whose clients include a bunch of health care and financial institutions, as well as tobacco and sugar interests?

George LeMieux: Appointing his old campaign manager and chief of staff is pretty close to appointing himself to the job. LeMieux is not a registered lobbyist, so in that respect could be a safe choice thoroughly loyal to Crist. But he's widely viewed as a moderate and will do little to excite the GOP base.

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 4:57pm]

    

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