Housing Secretary Mel Martinez is leaving his cabinet post Friday as he prepares to run for a U.S. Senate seat in his home state of Florida.The secretary announced that his resignation will be effective at noon on Friday. But he did not make any reference to his run for the Senate. It is unclear when he will announce his candidacy. However, White House political officials have been urging the Cuban-born attorney and former Florida county executive to run for the Senate because they believe he would help President Bush win the state in his 2004 re-election campaign. Deputy Secretary Alfonso Jackson will take over as acting secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. "It has been a great privilege to serve in the president's cabinet and lead the 9,300 hard-working employees of HUD," Secretary Martinez said. "Together we have expanded homeownership opportunities for more Americans and helped countless others find affordable housing in the communities of their choice."

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