FL-Sen: Is Diaz-Balart the New Vacancy Frontrunner? We’ll Know by Labor Day

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports:

Diaz-Balart emerging as a top choice for the SenateEmerging from the weekend, a new name seems to be gaining buzz as a top contender to take over for Sen. Mel Martinez.

On Friday, Gov. Charlie Crist specifically identified U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart as one of the people on his short list to fill Martinez’s final 15 months in the U.S. Senate.

I would have thought that Diaz-Balart would never give up his House career for a short term placeholder gig in the Senate.  However, reportedly, he’s considering it:

“To my surprise, Lincoln is seriously considering filling out the questionnaire and putting his name in the hat,” said lobbyist/fundraiser Ana Navarro. “It’s a historical opportunity where he feels he can make a difference. He is willing to lose his House seat in order to serve the state of Florida in the Senate.”

But that’s just step one in a much more complex game of political musical chairs, so the rumor/speculation goes:

The new rumor on the blocks is that by moving up, Lincoln Diaz-Balart would leave his seat open not for [Crist's Senate primary opponent Marco] Rubio, but for his younger brother, 25th District Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. The idea is that Mario is not enjoying the Dem-trending nature of his own district (it voted for McCain by 1% last year, and MDB himself only won re-election by 6%), and thinks that the 21st is more hospitable territory for the Diaz-Balart brand. I’m not so sure how wise of a move that would be — the 21st isn’t all that more GOP-friendly than the 25th; LDB’s district went for McCain by 2%, but he crushed highly-touted but highly flawed Dem nominee Raul Martinez by 16 points during the same election. The theory, then, is that Marco Rubio would be free to run in the adjacent 25th District once MDB successfully swaps seats.

Ostensibly, after serving out the remainder of Mel Martinez’ term, Lincoln Diaz-Balart would just ride off into the Congressional sunset to join up with LobbyistLand or some other such career change.  Of course, this could all be a red herring to get Marco Rubio to blink.

Meanwhile, someone will be named, and soon:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) will name a replacement for retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R) before Congress returns from August recess, choosing from among what is likely to be a pool of seven potential candidates.On Friday, Crist’s office announced it had requested questionnaires from three potential candidates – ex-U.S. Attorney Bob Martinez, former Attorney General Jim Smith and Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R).

“He’s seriously considering it,” Diaz-Balart spokesman Andy Gonzalez said of Crist’s request.

Crist’s communications director, Erin Isaac, said the eventual list of candidates Crist considers will be composed of “seven or so” names.

Republican sources say former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings, former Sen. Connie Mack (R), ex-Rep. Clay Shaw (R) and state Sen. Daniel Webster (R) could also be on the list, along with a surprise dark horse – former Crist chief of staff George LeMieux, now the chairman of a major Florida law firm.

“There’s additional names that will be released,” Isaacs said, though she would not address LeMieux’s chances specifically. LeMieux declined to comment for this story.

There’s no word on when Crist’s office will release the additional names.  However, August recess ends on September 7 with the conclusion of Labor Day weekend.  Clock’s ticking.

guru helluva nerve

guru pretty daring to keep soliciting money the day the coward in chief and scum of the senate (baucus conrad et al) killed real health reform. i say fuck um i hope we lost 20 senate seats in 2010 the house and the coward gets creamed by palin in 12 they deserve it do not ask me to give money to any d candidate ever fuck em all they deserve to lose. dont be leming vote green in 2010 and 2012

by: suburbanliberal @ Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 19:29:47 PM CDT

You are way off base.

100 House members won’t vote for a bill that doesn’t include the public option.  The HELP committee already has passed a bill with a public option that will go to the floor.  The Whitehouse is walking back its stupid trial baloon.  And after both houses vote we’ll have to go to conference committee where Nancy Pelosi is bound to put her best lieutinants in to fight for the option.  To put it frankly, I ain’t heard no fat lady sing so quit your bawling.  Besides, even if healthcare reform doesn’t come out perfect, we still have an economy we need to get moving, wars to wind down, an energy bill to pass, the biggest environmental crisis in the history of the human race, a broken immigration system, and some civil rights legislation to get passed-so let’s not go wishing for President Palin and the ascendency of teh stupid just because you’re feeling pissed on.

Check out Blue Arkansas:

by: ARDem @ Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 20:23:35 PM CDT

so the tone was a little off but

i talked to my ofa organizer who is as confused as me. I understand what your saying. this is what i am going i am going to let my congressman know i want a public option as well as my senators. as far as the coward and the scum fuck um if we have to drag them kicking and screaming fine. As far as the white House statement from the lowly aide that nothing changed if you believe that i have some land in Fl I want you to buy. The coward told you and me to fuck off he is taking us for granted so fuck him. give to health care for america. give to candidates who support real healthcare reform. btw the president well abandon cap and trade in sept. it is not losing the fight that pisses me off it is that he well not even get in the ring. why have neither him or Gibbs walked it back. they where both in public today why did sebillius never clarify. the fact is they stupidly are given everything away in pursuit of a gop senators that well never vote for the bill. we need to stop following blindly what is the point of electing these people if they flip the moment they win. We do not need the gop we are own opposition party

by: suburbanliberal @ Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 20:42:18 PM CDT

I am not saying i am a liar but i do in fact believe my pants are on fire

yes gibbs walked it back at 4:5O edt read the transcript on whitehouse.gov i was wrong ardem was right i have egg on the face can all be forgiven. i still have issues with baucus,conrad et al but ar dem is right. i need to have some herbal tea or pet my cat remember not to type angry. thanx ar dem

by: suburbanliberal @ Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 20:56:08 PM CDT

At least you’re a big enough person to own up to it.

Here’s the thing about politics-you’re always going to have disappointment and things are always going to seem like doomsday, but somehow we all get through it and things seem to work out in the end.  That’s never a given though, and it’s all the more reason to stay engaged, accomplish whatever positive change we can at the moment and push for more in the next round.  We’re all angry here for one reason or another, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. And from one cat owner to another, they’re very good to have around when you have those high stress moments.  Even this big useless lumux of mine trying to lay on the keyboard.

Check out Blue Arkansas:

Click here for the new senate guru blog…

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