If Charlie Crist was hoping to fill a Senate vacancy and make his 2010 plans a little easier, his plans just went a little awry:
"I have informed Governor Charlie Crist this evening that I will not be submitting the Questionnaire for appointment to the Senate he kindly asked me to consider submitting. It was a great honor to be considered by Governor 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."
Pity poor Charlie Crist. It all seemed to be falling into place for the Florida Governor (and Senate aspirant) last week. With Mel Martinez pulling a Sarah Palin and leaving office early, much speculation fell on Crist, and his appointment powers to fill this vacancy.
He couldn't pick himself--that would look awful. The frontrunner appeared to be former GOP Governor Bob Martinez, but there are some problems there, too. Could a Republican Governor already routinely derided as a RINO really name a GOP Senate replacement who had donated to several Democrats?
Then, over the weekend, a new name emerged: longtime South Florida Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. As James L. at Swing State speculated yesterday, this might lead to an ingenious game of Republican musical chairs, whereupon Lincoln Diaz-Balart would go to the Senate, his brother Mario (in a less amenable district) would head to Lincoln's FL-21, which would open up FL-25 for none other than Marco Rubio. Which would eliminate Crist's primary opponent for the 2010 Senate seat (this, of course, presumed that LDB would not run for the seat again in his own right).
Now, with those plans torn asunder, it's back to the drawing board for Governor Crist. Bob Martinez continues to be the presumptive frontrunner, but a new name emerged earlier today: longtime Congressman Bill Young. Young, nearing 79 years of age, would perfectly fit the caretaker role. But he would also put FL-10, the most vulnerable GOP seat in the state, up for grabs, with Democrats already having an established candidate in Charlie Justice.
The only thing that is clear at this point is that Crist has a pretty sizeable mess on his hands, where he could take some fire no matter who he appoints.