JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., says she is joining the race to succeed the retiring Mel Martinez as a U.S. senator from the state in 2010.
Brown, one of the first blacks elected to Congress from Florida since the U.S. Reconstruction era, announced Tuesday she had set up an "exploratory committee" to allow her to raise campaign funds for seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat currently held by Martinez, a Republican, The Miami Herald reported.
Brown, Alcee Hastings and Carrie Meek were all elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, becoming the first African-Americans to win Florida congressional elections since the 19th century. Meek's son Kendrick Meek, who succeeded his mother in Congress, has also declared a run for Martinez's Senate seat.
The Republican front-runner for the job is Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, the state's best-known politician.
Brown told the Herald in her hometown of Jacksonville, "I like Kendrick a lot, and I love his mother. I've been looking at this Senate seat for a long time."