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Crist Remains Quiet on Top Choice for U.S. Senate

Gov. Charlie Crist is still staying relatively mum on his choice to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez who resigned a few weeks ago.

Crist was scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon with former U.S. Attorney Bobby Martinez in Miami. He has also requested applications from Tallahassee lobbyist and former Secretary of State Jim Smith and Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. However, Diaz-Balart has told the governor he's not interested.

“The consideration in my mind is I have to appoint somebody who in my belief, Number 1, has great integrity , will serve our fellow Floridians with honor and will do an incredible job of making sure that we continue to be well represented in both seats in the United States Senate,” the Governor told reporters Tuesday. “And those are my primary considerations that they will work very hard every day for our fellow Floridians.”

Other names that have been rumored as possible nominees include former Lieutenant Gov. Toni Jennings and former Crist adviser George Lemieux. Crist said he thinks “the world” of Jennings, but declined to say whether he would be asking her to apply for the post.

He also would not say Martinez is the frontrunner, even though he was slated to meet with Martinez at the Miami International Airport.

“Obviously I think an awful lot of Bobby Martinez,” Crist said. “He was a great U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, appointed by President Bush, the first President Bush. (He has) been a dear friend and a loyal ally. He's a brilliant man and he cares deeply about Florida, but there are others that will be interviewed too and I look forward to the process. “

Martinez had already announced he would not seek reelection in 2010 when he said in early August that he would step down before his term expired. The Orlando Republican never seemed to care for the D.C. scene and the partisan arguments that came along with it.

Gov. Charlie Crist and former House Speaker Marco Rubio are running against each other in the Repubican primary for the seat, and Kendrick Meek is currently the only major Democrat in the race.

Crist has said repeatedly that he will not name himself as the interim senator.

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