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Diaz-Balart takes himself off Senate shortlist

U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart announced late last night that he turned down Gov. Charlie Crist's request that he submit the questionnaire for an appointment to the U.S. Senate to fill the rest of Mel Martinez's term.

"It was a great honor to be considered by Governor Crist for appointment to the United States Senate,'' Diaz-Balart says in a written statement. "I thank him for his kind gesture of confidence. After giving the Governor's request serious consideration and deliberation, I have decided to remain in the U.S. House of Representatives fighting for the causes which I deeply believe in."

Diaz-Balart was elected to Congress in 1992 and would have had to give up a politically safe seat for a brief Senate stint. Crist is running for the Senate seat himself and it's understood that his appointment would bow out in 2010.

Crist is scheduled to interview the other Miami Cuban-American on his shortlist -- former U.S. Attorney Roberto Martinez -- at Miami International Airport today at 1 p.m. He's a Republican but far less partisan than Diaz-Balart, having never run for public office or immersed himself in GOP politics. His bio is here.

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