Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) Resigning Term Early

An easy moderate for Florida, Senator Martinez told staffers this morning in a meeting that he would not be returning to the Senate after the summer recess. The Senator is rumored to pursuit a presidential position at Florida State University which was recently vacated. The Senator has a history of being very gay-friendly in spite of his party’s homophobic attitudes towards the GLBT Community.

His re-election takes place next year and Florida law gives Governor Charlie Crist (R) the opportunity to appoint a caretaker to the vacancy until the Nov. 2010 election. From the L.A. Times:

Crist stuck his head out of the front door of the Governor’s Mansion this morning and told us he hadn’t spoken with Sen. Mel Martinez yet and had no other comment on the reports of his resignation.

It’s important to note that Florida was one of the “13 Bush States” that Barack Obama picked up in last year’s election making the upcoming election a definite toss-up.