As the Specter chronicles continue to unfold in Pennsylvania (the latest is that Tom Ridge won’t be running), other battlegrounds for the 2010 mid-term elections are starting to materialize.

And one of those burgeoning battlegrounds is the state of Florida, where incumbent Republican Senator Mel Martinez is retiring.

Barack Obama won Florida in last year’s Presidential election, and there is no doubt that the Democrats are eying up Martinez’s seat like a rottweiler does with a t-bone. But the odds of the Dems winning that seat is about to get a wee bit longer when tomorrow, Governor Charlie Crist announces he will be seeking the GOP nomination for the seat, as expected.

Crist faces his own challenge though, as he will battle State Speaker Marco Rubio for the nomination. Crist is a moderate and popular among many Democrats, as well as Republicans, but has been criticized by conservatives as “liberal”. The nomination fight between Crist and Rubio is what a Tom Ridge/Pat Toomey race could have been in PA – a moderate versus a conservative.

If Crist can get past Rubio, he becomes an extremely formidable candidate in the general election, one that Florida Democrats would have a hard time beating.