Former Housing Secretary Mel Martinez, a Republican, has won the Senate race in Florida, a development that mortgage and housing groups appear pleased with. "We will be delighted to have someone with his demonstrated knowledge of housing and real estate finance in the Senate," said Kurt Pfotenhauer, a lobbyist with the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mr. Martinez, who left HUD in the fall of 2003, edged out his Democratic opponent, Betty Castor, by about two percentage points. As secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Martinez supported President Bush's proposals to reform the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. However, the RESPA proposal that came out of HUD under Mr. Martinez was less than popular with the mortgage industry. (The reforms were never enacted.) While at HUD, Mr. Martinez also supported reforming the housing government-sponsored enterprises. It's anticipated that Mr. Martinez will serve on the Senate Banking Committee.

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