Concept

Mel Martínez

Summary
Melquíades Rafael Ruiz Martínez (born October 23, 1946) is a Cuban-American lobbyist and former politician who served as a United States Senator from Florida from 2005 to 2009 and as general chairman of the Republican Party from November 2006 until October 19, 2007. Previously, Martínez served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush. Martínez is a Cuban-American and Roman Catholic. He announced he was resigning as general chairman of the Republican National Committee on October 19, 2007. Martínez resigned his United States Cabinet post on August 12, 2004, to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida being vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Bob Graham. Martínez secured the Republican nomination and narrowly defeated the Democratic nominee, Betty Castor. His election made him the first Cuban-American to serve in the U.S. Senate. Furthermore, he and Ken Salazar (who is Mexican-American) were the first Hispanic U.S. Senators since 1977
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