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Mel Martinez
(American Politician)

Date of Birth:
October 23, 1946


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Melquíades Rafael "Mel" Martínez is currently the junior United States Senator from Florida and served as General Chairman of the Republican Party from November, 2006 until October 19, 2007. Previously, Martinez served as the 12th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President George W. Bush. Martinez is a Cuban-American and Catholic. He announced he was resigning as Chairman of the Republican National Committee on October 19, 2007 .

Martinez resigned his cabinet post on December 12, 2003 to run for the open U.S. Senate seat in Florida being vacated by retiring Democratic Senator Bob Graham. Martinez 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 are the first Hispanic U.S. Senators since 1977. They were joined by Bob Menendez in January 2006.

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