Crist won't appoint himself to Senate seat

The Florida governor's running for a job he now has to appoint someone to

Published August 7, 2009 8:10PM (EDT)

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has an odd sort of opportunity right now. He was already running for the seat currently held by Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla. -- but now Martinez has announced that he's resigning, and it's Crist's job to pick a temporary successor. Legally, that means the could just appoint himself.

Crist said Friday afternoon, though, that he has no intention of doing so. Not too surprising -- governors who make themselves into senators have historically found themselves without either job come the next election, and Crist is already the heavy favorite to win Martinez's seat. No reason for him to risk a good thing for not all that much benefit.

The governor will be picking someone else soon, though. "We will immediately begin the process of selecting an appropriate replacement to serve the remainder of Senator Martinez’s term and I look forward to making an announcement in the coming weeks," he said in a statement.

There is a delicate balance involved in this choice -- on the one hand, he'll want a placeholder who doesn't have his or her own eyes on the seat. On the other hand, the new senator can't be perceived as a puppet or an empty shirt, as Crist will need the support of Florida Republicans when the race heats up.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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