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Crist's trail of broken-hearted almost-senators

"It's not me,'' said former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale, one of the leading contenders on Gov. Charlie Crist's shortlist for a U.S. Senate appointment. "I just got a voice mail from the governor saying he was going in a different direction...Well it was interesting to think about."

For Shaw -- who was next in line to serve as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee when he lost his seat in 2006 -- the chance to return to Capitol Hill with a promotion would have allowed him to cap off  his political career with a flourish.

State Rep. Jennifer Carroll of Jacksonville, the first black Republican elected to the Florida Legislation, would have made history if she had been picked to replace retiring Sen Mel Martinez. She was also passed over by Crist in 2006 for lieutenant governor.

"Life goes on,'' she said. "It's been unnerving because I've been getting so many calls and e-mails...but meanwhile you're just sitting there. It was an honor to be considered and what was humbling was the outpouring of support from around the state."