According to Roll Call, Florida GOP Senator Mel Martinez, former national GOP chair, HUD Secretary and all-around creation of the Bush machine, is considering early (?!) retirement from his first Senate term, possibly setting up Charlie Crist to appoint himself to the Senate vacancy.

In what could be a Sunshine State one-two punch, multiple Republican sources are confirming that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is giving serious consideration to running for Senate — and that Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) is contemplating resigning from his seat before his term is up next year.

Martinez has already announced he will not run for re-election when his first term expires in 2010. Crist, according to sources, has had multiple serious conversations about running for Senate with both Martinez and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas). 

This speculation appears to be jamming up the GOP’s other potential candidates for Mel’s seat:

Sources say most Republicans are waiting on the sidelines because they want to see what Crist does before jumping into the Senate race, and explain further that Sink could be eyeing an open gubernatorial seat in 2010, when Crist’s first term is up.

Florida’s lieutenant governor is a Republican and would appoint Martinez’s successor if he and Crist both resign prematurely.

TPM reminds us that governors who slide into Senate vacancies themselves have spectacular burnouts:

The rub here is that Crist might then be presented with the opportunity appoint himself to the seat – either doing it directly or by resigning and having his Lt. Governor do the job for him — which sounds just a little too good to be true. The history of governors appointing themselves to the Senate is almost entirely negative. The last person to do this was Governor-turned-Senator Wendell Anderson (D-MN), whose move into Walter Mondale’s Senate seat in December 1976 resulted in a Republican landslide all across Minnesota in 1978.

Jeb! already took himself out of the running, but would an appointment to the Senate — enabling him to run in 2010 as an incumbent — change his mind?

Teddy Partridge

Teddy Partridge