The hits keep coming for the scandal-plagued, increasingly irrelevant Republican Party. Mel Martinez—Flordia's rabidly right-wing anti-gay senator, Bush clone and the former RNC chairman—is resigning his Senate seat "at the end of August, a year and a half before his term expires in January 2011," reports The Hill.
Martinez previously announced he would not seek re-election in 2010 and his resignation "throws a fascinating wrinkle into the open seat race to replace Martinez," writes WashingtonPost.com's Chris Cillizza at The Fix.
Charlie Crist, as the sitting governor, has the power to appoint a replacement for Martinez -- a task complicated by the fact that he is seeking the same Senate seat in 2010. Crist could, theoretically, appoint himself but that seems unlikely as it could spark a voter backlash in a race that Crist is strongly favored to win. Assuming Crist does not name himself, he is likely to appoint a caretaker who will hold the seat until January 2011 but will not seek the full term.
Martinez has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign. The St. Petersburg Times revoked their endorsement after he relentlessly gay-baited his anti-gay Republican challenger. Martinez has opposed even basic equality legislation such as ENDA and bullying laws that would protect both gay and straight youth.
Former Republican Vice Presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin also recently resigned fom office. Must be a new Republican "strategy".