By Aaron Blake - 08/18/09 07:21 AM EDT
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart said in a statement late Monday that he will not seek the appointment to replace Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.).
"I have informed Gov. Charlie Crist this evening that I will not be submitting the questionnaire for appointment to the Senate he kindly asked me to consider submitting," Diaz-Balart said in the statement. "It was a great honor to be considered by Gov. Crist for appointment to the United States Senate. I thank him for his kind gesture of confidence.
"After giving the governor's request serious consideration and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the U.S. House of Representatives fighting for the causes which I deeply believe in."
Taking the Senate appointment would have been difficult for Diaz-Balart, as he would have effectively have been giving up his House seat for just more than a year in the Senate. Crist is the front-runner for the Senate seat, and Diaz-Balart likely would have been a placeholder for whomever wins the seat in 2010.
There was also speculation that Diaz-Balart's appointment would have allowed Crist's primary opponent, former state House Speaker Marco Rubio,to shift his focus to a South Florida House seat currently held by Diaz-Balart or his brother, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.). Rubio's campaign has repeatedly said it will remain in the Senate race regardless of other electoral opportunities.
The others Crist requested questionnaires from are former Florida Secretary of State Jim Smith and former U.S. Attorney Bobby Martinez.