TALLAHASSEE (AP) _ Gov. Charlie Crist is including the first black Republican woman in the Florida Legislature among the people he's considering to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.
Crist on Tuesday asked Rep. Jennifer Carroll of Jacksonville to apply for the position that Sen. Mel Martinez is leaving more than a year before his first term expires. Crist is running for the position in the 2010 election, but has said he won't appoint himself for the remainder of the term.
Carroll is a former Navy officer who has twice run for Congress. She's often been highlighted as a speaker at several state Republican Party events and heads the state GOP's outreach to black voters. Crist also on Tuesday asked former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney, who now serves as the University of North Florida president, to apply for the appointment. He plans to meet with both on Wednesday.
Last week, Crist also sent applications to former U.S. Attorney Roberto Martinez, who led the transition team when Crist was elected governor in 2006; lobbyist Jim Smith, who previously served as secretary of state and attorney general; and U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who has since taken himself out of consideration for the post.
“The consideration in my mind is that I have to appoint somebody who in my belief, number one, 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,'' Crist said.
Sen. Martinez, who ran for the position in 2004 at the urging of then President George W. Bush, announced in December he wouldn't seek a second term. He said earlier this month he would leave office early once Crist appointed a replacement.
Among others mentioned as possible appointees are former Rep. Clay Shaw, former Rep. Mike Bilirakis, former Sen. Dan Webster and George LeMieux, who served as Crist's chief of staff in the governor's and attorney general's offices.
Crist is expected to make an appointment before the Senate returns from recess Sept. 8.
Crist announced in May he would run for Martinez' seat instead of a second term. He faces former House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami in the primary. U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami is the only major Democrat in the race, though Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown of Jacksonville, who won re-election against Carroll in 2000 and 2002, has formed a Senate exploratory committee.
Pictured above is state Rep. Jennifer Carroll.