FEDC Inside Track For Legislative Affairs: Florida Senator Martinez to Resign; Negron Wins Pruitt Senate Seat in Landslide

Aug 7, 2009


U.S. Senator Mel Martinez to Resign; Governor Crist Will Fill Seat With Appointment

CNN has reported on its news blog that Florida Senator Mel Martinez will announce his resignation earlier than expected.  Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who currently is running for the seat, is empowered to appoint a replacement who would serve until the 2010 election. 

First on the CNN Ticker: Florida senator to resign seat

From CNN’s Rick DiBella and Mark Preston
Posted: August 7th, 2009 10:30 AM ET

Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, will announce that he is resigning his seat.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Florida, will announce that he is resigning his seat, three Republican sources have told CNN.  Earlier this year, Martinez said he would not run for re-election in 2010. Under Florida law covering a Senate resignation, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist will get to appoint a successor until the next general election. Crist himself is running for that seat.


Negron Wins Former Pruitt State Senate Seat In Landslide

Former Republican Florida House Member Joe Negron won the August 4, 2009 District 28 Special Election by 76.5 percent of the overall vote to defeat Democrat Bill Ramos.  The seat had been held by former Senate President Ken Pruitt, who resigned due to personal reasons.

Media coverage of the election from TCPalm.com is reprinted below.  An unofficial chart from the Florida Division of Elections showing the total ballot returns is also included below.


Former Florida House member Joe Negron wins Pruitt seat in landslide

Jim Turner, TCPalm.com

HUTCHINSON ISLAND — In a result that one state legislator called “slightly anti-climatic,” voters overwhelmingly sent Stuart attorney Joe Negron back to Tallahassee Tuesday.

The five-county landslide allows the Republican Negron, a former state House representative from 2000 to 2006 to serve the remaining year of state Sen. Ken Pruitt’s term and to be in a position for future Senate leadership as he will be the incumbent for the Senate District 28 office in 2010.

Negron received 76.5 percent of the overall District 28 vote to defeat Democrat Bill Ramos, a mortgage broker from Jensen Beach.

Negron credited his volunteers for drumming up support across party lines through the use of the vote-by-mail ballots that dominated the 12 percent turnout. “We worked hard and it paid off,” said Negron.

Negron added he believes voters wanted someone who could best serve the region in the current economic climate and who would work to improve the quality of the St. Lucie River.

“The number one issue I got asked about during the entire campaign from when I started until tonight is the St. Lucie River,” Negron said. “They want to quit pouring millions of gallons of polluted water into our river and estuary and I think they are confident that the plans to move the water to the south will help the district everywhere, including Okeechobee County.”

Ramos, who had twice run unsuccessfully for the state House, could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Ramos, who faced an accusation of hiding a criminal past by Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, had said late last month that this would be his last campaign if he was unable to sway voters in the special election.

Pruitt, who is stepping down a year earlier due to health and financial reasons, said Negron’s experience as a appropriations chair in the state House will put him in position for leadership roles quickly in the Senate.

“There will be no learning curve for Joe Negron and that is what is important for the district,” said Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie. “He knows all the intricacies and that will bode well for the Treasure Coast and Palm Beach.”

Negron entered his “Victory Party” at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Tuesday night with Pruitt, Senate President Jeff Atwater, R- North Palm Beach, and future Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Melbourne.

“He will have a vital role in my administration,” said Haridopolos, who is line to run the Senate starting in 2011 when redistricting and reapportionment sessions begin. “Being from appropriations in the House, I can put him anywhere.”

Negron, in addressing about 300 at the Marriott, jokingly referred to his unsuccessful candidacy as the late replacement for disgraced U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach, in 2006 when his name did not appear on the ballot.

“It’s always helpful to have your name on the ballot,” Negron quipped.

Confident in the outcome, due to pre-election day returns being dominated by ballots submitted by Republicans, along with his holding an decisive financial advantage and receiving strong state and national support, Negron had started to call his election night event his “Victory Party” before the polls opened Tuesday.

The view carried over to others. State Rep. William Snyder, R-Stuart, in introducing Negron Tuesday, called the results “to some extent slightly anti-climatic.”

While the Republican advantage among registered voters in the district has shrunk from 11 percent in 2006 to 5 percent before the special election, the victory keeps a historically Republican seat in the GOP’s hands.

Still, the Alexandria, Va.-based Republican State Leadership Committee, in seeking help for Negron in the campaign, stated that his victory would “send a message to Democrats across the country that the Republican party, and what it stands for, is strong in this southern swing state.”


Copyright © 2009, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


(may not include absentee or provisional ballots)


County Joe Negron (R) Bill Ramos (D) Josue Larose (WRI)
Indian River 2,647 268 6
Martin 14,205 4,433 0
Okeechobee 308 121 1
Palm Beach 4,466 1,146 4
Saint Lucie 11,913 4,292 42


33,539 10,260 53

% Votes

76.5% 23.4% 0.1%


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