Bill McCollum (R)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) -- The announcement by Florida's junior U.S. senator, Mel Martinez, that he will not seek a second term has opened up the race for both major political parties.
Florida's Attorney General Bill McCollum, a potential Republican candidate for the soon-to-be-vacant seat, has stated his intention to evaluate his potential run for the seat.
"I was surprised to learn today that Senator Mel Martinez will not be seeking re-election for his post in 2010.," McCollum said. "Senator Martinez has served his constituents and our state admirably, and with his decision not to seek another term the people of Florida are losing a dedicated public servant.
McCollum added that he will "seriously consider and discuss with my family a race for this U.S. Senate seat, and we will share our decision at a later date."
Other potential Republican candidates include former Gov. Jeb Bush as well as state Senate President Jeff Atwater and former state House speaker Marco Rubio. State Reps. Vern Buchanan and Connie Mack could run as well.
Possible Democratic candidates for the seat include State Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, state Reps. Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek, and State Sen. Dan Gelber.
Martinez served as general chairman of the Republican Party from November 2006 until October 19, 2007 as well as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush.
Martinez replaced retiring Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat, in the U.S. Senate after narrowly defeating Betty Castor, the Democratic nominee.