On Saturday, we wrote about the possible scenario being cooked up by Charlie Crist in order to lure Marco Rubio out of the Florida Senate primary — namely, that Crist would appoint 21st CD Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart to the Senate as a placeholder, creating a House special election that would be hard for young Rubio to turn down. It seemed like a bit of a stretch at the time, but there are signs that this may actually be pretty serious. First, from the Miami Herald’s blog:
Supporters of U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Miami say he’s seriously considering giving up his House seat to serve the rest of Mel Martinez’s Senate term. Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday that he’s on the shortlist.
“To my surprise, Lincoln is seriously considering filling out the questionnaire and putting his name in the hat,” said lobbyist/fundraiser Ana Navarro. “It’s a historical opportunity where he feels he can make a difference. He is willing to lose his House seat in order to serve the state of Florida in the Senate.”
But wait, there’s more! Much more, in fact. The new rumor on the blocks is that by moving up, Lincoln Diaz-Balart would leave his seat open not for Rubio, but for his younger brother, 25th District Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. The idea is that Mario is not enjoying the Dem-trending nature of his own district (it voted for McCain by 1% last year, and MDB himself only won re-election by 6%), and thinks that the 21st is more hospitable territory for the Diaz-Balart brand. I’m not so sure how wise of a move that would be — the 21st isn’t all that more GOP-friendly than the 25th; LDB’s district went for McCain by 2%, but he crushed highly-touted but highly flawed Dem nominee Raul Martinez by 16 points during the same election. The theory, then, is that Marco Rubio would be free to run in the adjacent 25th District once MDB successfully swaps seats. More from the Miami Herald:
Because Diaz-Balart’s name did not surface immediately when Martinez announced he would quit, the prospect of him seeking the appointment — and that his brother, Mario Diaz-Balart would run for his more Republican-friendly seat — is creating political upheaval in an already topsy-turvy election cycle. That would leave Mario’s seat open, possibly for former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is considered a longshot against Crist for Senate. (Both Mario and Marco would have to move.)
“I would urge Mario to run for the seat because of the changing demographics in his district,” Navarro said. “It’s adjacent to his district and has the same issues but has a much stronger Republican base.”
This is a pretty crazy game of pinball that Crist and the Diaz-Balarts may or may not be attempting to rig. I would have to grudgingly tip my hat to the Governor if it all fell perfectly into place, but of course, there’s also the risk that something this complicated could blow up in everyone’s face.
As Samuel L. Jackson once said, hang on to yer butts.
UPDATE: Straight from the horse’s mouth:
U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart said today he is “seriously considering” seeking the vacant U.S. Senate seat.