Melquiades Martinez

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This is a profile of a former U.S. senator. (See all the Florida portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Melquiades Rafael "Mel" Martinez, a Republican, represented Florida in the U.S. Senate from 2004 to September 10, 2009. Martinez served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union not avail. not avail.
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Americans for Democratic Action not avail. not avail.
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council not avail. not avail.
Information Technology Industry Council not avail. not avail.
League of Conservation Voters not avail. not avail.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce not avail. not avail.


Sen. Mel Martinez has announced he will not seek reelection in 2010.[[1]

Iraq War

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

"Terri Schiavo talking points memo"

On April 6, 2005, Martinez accepted the resignation of his legal counsel, Brian Darling [1]. Darling was responsible for writing and circulating a talking points memo that outlined a strategy for the Republicans to use the Terri Schiavo case as "a great political issue" that would appeal to the party's core supporters and could be used against Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, who is up for reelection in 2006. [2]

Martinez immediately denied all knowledge of Darling's involvement in the situation, noting that he himself had inadvertently passed a copy of the memo to Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, believing that it was nothing more than an outline of the Republican proposal. Martinez asserted that the memo "was intended to be a working draft," stating that Darling "doesn't really know how I got it."

The Schiavo memo is the third recent incident in which Martinez accepted broad responsibility while laying blame upon a staffer for the underlying deed. During the Republican primary, a staffer was blamed for a passage in a campaign flyer painting his opponent Bill McCollum as a servant of the "radical homosexual lobby". Shortly thereafter another staffer was blamed for labelling federal agents involved in the Elián González affair as "armed thugs." (St Pete Times: New gaffe, old Martinez defense).

Illegal campaign contributions

In September 2006, Justice Department officials charged William Scott Deloach, the former chief financial officer of PBS&J, a Florida-based engineering firm, with funneling $10,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Martinez's 2004 Senate campaign. Deloach made the contributions through the names of six ficticious individuals. In August 2006, PBS&J were awarded a FEMA contract worth up to $250 million. [3]

Criticism for stance on illegal immigration

Martinez was criticized by some for his support for a "guest-worker" for illegal immigrants. An online site,, stated "Now that George W. Bush has seen fit to put 'Amnesty Mel' in charge of the RNC, I suppose he thinks a part time Senator for our state is all that is needed. You know, because the full time head of the RNC did such a bang-up job last time." The site advocated changes to U.S. policy regarding immigration such as [4]:

  • Building a wall across the U.S. border with Mexico, and then using the National Guard and the Minutemen to stop the flow of immigrants across it.
  • Fining companies $50,000 for hiring illegal immigrants (first offense) and $500,000 for each additional offense. [5]

Finance campaign irregularities

In April 2007, the Federal Election Commission discovered "irregularities" in general chairman of the Republican National Committee 2004 senatorial campaign. According to the audit the campaign,

accepted contributions exceeding limits by a total of $313,235; failed to properly report funds raised by joint committees, as well as $162,014 raised in the days before the primary and general elections; and didn't do enough to collect information on donors' occupations and employers.[6]


Martinez was born October 23, 1946 in Sagua La Grande, Cuba. He came to the United States in 1962 as part of Operation Pedro Pan, a humanitarian program that helped Cuban children escape communist Cuba. He subsequently lived in two youth facilities and with two foster families until he was reunited with his family in Orlando, Florida in 1966.

Martinez graduated from the Florida State University College of Law in 1973. He practiced law for 25 years in Orlando. Before becoming Secretary of HUD, Martinez was the elected Chairman of Orange County, Florida, and served on the Governor's Growth Management Study Commission. He had also served as President of the Orlando Utilities Commission, on the board of directors of a community bank, and as Chairman of the Orlando Housing Authority. Martinez was co-chair of George W. Bush's 2000 campaign and a leading fundraiser.

Martinez resigned his cabinet post on December 12, 2003 to run for an open U.S. Senate seat in Florida being vacated by retiring Democrat Bob Graham. Martinez' election made him the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate. He was endorsed early by many prominent Republican groups, and publicly supported by key national Republican figures such as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. His Cuban background and his popularity in the battleground Orlando, Florida region both contributed to his appeal to the statewide GOP in Florida.

After a close and nasty primary against Bill McCollum, Martinez defeated his Democratic opponent, Betty Castor, in a very close general election.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for Melquiades Martinez
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Melquiades Martinez. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
  • 336 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
    Ph: 202-225-6316 Fax: 202-225-4975
    Webform email
District offices
  • Suite 148, 800 Douglas Road, Coral Gables, FL 33134
    Ph: 305-444-8332 Fax: (none entered)
  • Suite 475, 315 East Robinson Street, Orlando, FL 32801
    Ph: 407-254-2573 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and resources


  1. Aaron Blake,"Sen. Martinez won’t run for re-election in 2010", "The Hill", December 2, 2008.


Local blogs and discussion sites


Semantic data (Edit data)