Sunday, August 9, 2009

Governor Crist's dilemma: whom to choose as Senator Martinez's replacement?

How does a governor appoint a replacement for the Senate seat that he himself will be running for in less than a year? This is exactly what Florida Governor Charlie Crist is facing after Senator Martinez announced his resignation on Thursday.

Let's see what Governor Crist's options are:

1) He could appoint himself as the replacement.

2) Or he could appoint someone else.

Easy enough? Not exactly.

Option #1 could easily alienate voters for next year's primary. I'm sure Governor Crist believes that he is the right person for the job, but appointing himself could also cast him as a self-nepotist to the voters. Did I just invent a new word? Anyway, is it really possible for him to have an unbiased opinion of himself?

Option #2 is not exactly easier than #1. He is expected to appoint a fellow Republican, a person who is not only projected to run for the seat come election time, but will also be a very winnable candidate. Someone that will be the Republican nominee! Wait! That means beating Governor's Crist for the nomination. How could he appoint someone to beat him for the job? Conversely, how could Governor Crist appoint someone that he is sure of beating in the primary? It's a lose/lose situation for him. Can you say conflict of interest?

I guess option #2a would be to appoint a placeholder for the seat...not really fair to Floridians. They deserve a lot better than that. Option #2b would be to appoint a Democrat to avoid the crises that options #1 and #2 would cause. Not very sensible either.

I wouldn't want to be Governor Crist right now. Your thoughts?

p.s. Back in December 2003, then HUD Secretary Martinez resigned to run for the Senate seat.

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