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Lincoln Diaz-Balart: "I could have done a good job in the Senate"

Lincoln Diaz-Balart -- a candidate on Gov. Charlie Crist's shortlist to succeed the retiring Mel Martinez -- said he believes he would've made a good temporary senator, but decided to stay in the House, where he has more seniority.

He said he fielded a lot of calls from folks asking him to stay in the House -- where he believes he can still work on important issues.

"He's invested 17 years in the House and it would have been a lot to give up," said Diaz-Balart's political consultant, Carlos Curbelo. "At the end of the day, though he was honored by the possibility and by being approached by the governor, he's invested a lot of time and effort into his work in the House."

Diaz-Balart wouldn't say whether he gave Crist any recommendations for the job, but said he's longtime friends with former U.S. Attorney General Roberto Martinez. Growing up, the two lived on the same block in Miami Shores.

"He's a very, very smart dynamic guy,'' said Diaz-Balart, noting that he's not as familiar with Crist's other potential picks.

"Who ever the governor picks will have my support,'' he said, adding, "And the delegation will look forward to working with that person." (Diaz-Balart co-chairs the Florida congressional delegation, along with Rep. Alcee Hastings.)