Florida senator to replace Mehlman as Republican Party chairman

Tuesday, November 14th 2006, 2:51 pm
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush tapped Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, a prominent Hispanic who previously served in the Cabinet, to assume the high-profile post of Republican National Committee honorary chairman.

``He's going to be an excellent spokesman for our party,'' Bush said Tuesday.

Martinez, 60, will remain in the Senate when he takes the reins of the RNC in January. The first-term senator will be the face of the party, focusing on fundraising, outreach and travel to promote the GOP agenda.

The announcement comes a week after Republicans suffered stinging defeats at the polls, losing control of the House and Senate. The party also lost support of Hispanic voters who had backed Bush two years ago.

The current party chairman, Ken Mehlman, is leaving his post in January at the end of his two-year term.