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Reports state, Florida Senator Mel Martinez to resign

Tallahassee – Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen L. Thurman released the following statement responding to the news reports that Senator Mel Martinez will be resigning by the end of August:

“With Sen. Mel Martinez’s announcement that he will resign by the end of August, Gov. Charlie Crist has a responsibility to appoint an independent caretaker to serve with Sen. Bill Nelson to represent the Sunshine State through the end of Martinez’s current term.

“U.S. Senate seats should not be political footballs. The last thing Florida needs are Republicans playing politics with a U.S. Senate seat while we face the largest economic crisis of our lifetimes and the Congress is tackling critical issues such as health insurance reform and global warming, so it is critical that Charlie Crist not play political games with the public’s trust.

“Martinez’s announcement today reaffirms the fact that Florida will be a central battleground over the next 16 months.

“In 2010, every statewide office in Florida will be wide open with no incumbents running for re-election, for the first time in 134 years. Democrats are working to seize our historic opportunity to bring change to Florida by electing our next Governor, Alex Sink, electing a strong Democrat to the U.S. Senate, and electing more Democrats to the Congress, Cabinet, and Florida’s Legislature.”

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