Cheney Appears Headed to Duval; Fund-Raising Event Sept. 27 at Downtown Hilton Is for Senate Candidate Mel Martinez

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Byline: DAVID DECAMP, The Times-Union

Vice President Dick Cheney is expected at a Jacksonville fund-raiser Monday, Sept. 27, for Senate candidate Mel Martinez, further joining the presidential and Senate elections together.

Cheney will attend a downtown Hilton hotel event for Martinez, a former U.S. housing secretary from Orlando whom the White House recruited to run. Martinez won the Aug. 31 primary and will face Democrat Betty Castor, a former state education commissioner from Tampa.

Organizers have a goal of about $200,000 for the event, said Duval County Republican Party Chairman Mike Hightower, one of the state's top fund-raisers for President Bush.

Jennifer Coxe, spokeswoman for Martinez, confirmed a Sept. 27 fund-raiser in Jacksonville but declined to provide details. The White House usually does not give out advance travel information because of security concerns.

A message to the White House seeking comment was not returned.

Bush's campaign hopes Martinez, a Cuban-American, will buoy the president's chances in Florida, where the Hispanic vote is large. …