Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) on Tuesday downplayed his endorsement of the Senate candidacy of Florida Gov. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristThe Hill's Morning Report: As Trump talks, his lawyers sweat Inviting disaster: Ignoring the lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon Former Florida congressmen mull bipartisan gubernatorial run: report MORE as a snub of former state House Speaker Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioScottish beer company offering ‘tiny cans’ for Trump’s ‘tiny hands’ The Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war MORE--a fellow Cuban-American.

Martinez said he endorsed Crist on Tuesday because he believes the governor can win the election, not because of any animosity toward Rubio.

"I'm very proud of my heritage as I'm sure he's proud of his," Martinez said. "But this is about the next senator from Florida. I would have been very happy to see Marco Rubio as a candidate, but not with Charlie Crist in the race. Governor Crist is ready now to be the next senator from Florida."

--J. Taylor Rushing