TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 11 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is preparing to announce a run for the U.S. Senate, a former staffer says.
George LeMieux, Crist's one-time chief of staff, said the Republican governor will make the announcement Tuesday in Tallahassee, Fla., the Miami Herald reported.
"He loves being governor, but he also realizes that Florida's problems have become national problems," LeMieux told the newspaper, adding, "No matter what decision the governor makes, he will be, as he has been, focused on his (governor's) job."
If Crist enters the race, he would immediately become the front-runner to replace retiring Sen. Mel Martinez, a fellow Republican, analysts say. He would face former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio of Miami in the Republican primary, who has reportedly positioned himself as a staunch conservative.
The Herald said Democrats who have announced for Martinez's seat include U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach and North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns.
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