Florida Governor Charlie Crist, in office only 28 months, has decided to abandon his office and run instead for the US Senate seat of Mel Martinez, who is retiring in 2010.
By taking this step, Crist is essentially leaving Florida in the middle of an economic crisis and opening up the gubernatorial race to other members of the Florida state cabinet, but at this point, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp, Attorney General Bill McCollum,Â and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson do not exactly excite the state, and neither does Democrat Alex Sink, the Chief Financial Officer.Â One cannot be sure which other Republicans or Democrats will enter the race, but if the Democrats could somehow win the governorship and some open state legislative seats, then reapportionment could help the Democrats after the Census of 2010.
The Senate race looks like an easy one for Crist, although he is being challenged by former Florida House Speaker and conservative Marco Rubio in the primary at this time.Â Kendrick Meek, black Congressman from Miami, is the most well known Democrat in the race, but it seems likely that Crist will win the seat.
His running for the Senate indicates to many observers that Crist has White House ambitions, probably more likely for 2016 than 2012.Â He will become a voice for Republican moderation, however, and one never can predict the future of a governor who is very charismatic and retains high public opinion ratings despite the tough Florida economy.
In any case,Â the Florida races for Governor and Senator will be important to watch, with Florida soon to become the third largest state in population sometime in the next decade.