America

Florida Sen. Mel Martinez To Resign

US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor meets with Sen. Mel Martinez, R-FL, on Capitol Hill on June i

Martinez crossed party lines to vote for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court. Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images
US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor meets with Sen. Mel Martinez, R-FL, on Capitol Hill on June

Martinez crossed party lines to vote for Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

The Associated Press, the Orlando Sentinel, the Miami Herald and The St. Petersburg Times are all reporting they've been told by sources that Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., is going to announce later today that he's resigning. Politico is on the story too, saying that Martinez told his staff about his decision earlier today. He reportedly would not return to the Senate after this month's recess.

Martinez had already said he wouldn't run for re-election next year. If he does step down, Gov. Charlie Crist — a fellow Republican who is already running for Martinez' seat — could appoint a replacement.

Update at 3:10 p.m. ET: Martinez has made it official.

At Orlando International Airport a short time ago, the senator told reporters that he does not want to "simply warm a seat" and wants to spend more time in Florida and with his family.

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET. NPR's Greg Allen says:

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Update at 12:20 p.m. ET. A statement from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.:

"Mel has been a good Senate colleague of mine, as well as a personal friend. He also has been a dedicated public servant for Florida. I look forward to our continued friendship — and to having the same bipartisan working relationship with his successor.

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET:

The AP reports that Crist says he will not appoint himself to fill Martinez' seat. According to the wire service, the governor "made the comment as he boarded a plane to Tampa."

NPR's Greg Allen says that Crist "has a commanding edge both in polls and fundraising over his conservative opponent in the Republican primary, former state house speaker Marco Rubio. The leading Democrat running for Martinez' seat is Florida congressman Kendrick Meek."

Update at 11:55 a.m. ET. The Herald has now posted what it says is the complete letter that Martinez is sending to "friends and supporters."

It starts by saying that:

"Because you're a friend, I wanted you to know first about the decision I will announce today to step down from public office. Twelve years ago I offered myself as a candidate for public office in Florida out of a deep sense of appreciation for what America and the people of Florida did for me as a young immigrant to this country."

There's more from the letter just below in the 11:27 a.m. update.

Update at 11:27 a.m. ET. The AP now adds that:

In a letter to friends and supporters obtained by The Associated Press, Martinez says he's stepping down early for personal reasons.

"My priorities have always been my faith, my family and my country, and at this stage in my life, and after nearly 12 years of public service in Florida and Washington, it's time I return to Florida and my family," Martinez wrote.

The note says his resignation will be "effective on a successor taking office to fill out the remainder of my term."

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