Huffpost Politics

GOP Sen. Martinez Retiring To Have More Free Time

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, who has struggled to boost his approval rating since taking office, will not seek a second term in 2010, a state Republican party official said Tuesday.

The official said Martinez was scheduled to make the announcement at a Tuesday morning news conference in Orlando. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make the announcement.

Martinez was elected in 2004 after serving as the U.S. secretary for Housing and Urban Development for President George W. Bush. He served as general chairman of the Republican National Committee for 10 months, resigning in October 2007.

Martinez, 62, was born in Cuba. At the age of 15, he fled to America as part of a Catholic humanitarian effort called Operation Pedro Pan. Catholic charitable groups provided Martinez, who was alone and spoke virtually no English, a temporary home at two youth facilities. He then lived with two foster families, with whom he remains close. He was reunited with his family in Orlando in 1966.

In appointing Martinez in 2001, Bush said he was "the embodiment of the American Dream."

The Washington Post adds that "Martinez's decision was based on a desire for more free time and a less scheduled life." Martinez was also expected to be a Democratic target in 2010.