Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) on Tuesday downplayed his endorsement of the Senate candidacy of Florida Gov. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristWhite House: Pelosi calling Barr a liar 'beneath her office' Timeline: Barr, Mueller and the Trump probe Justice Department slams Pelosi for 'baseless attack' against Barr MORE as a snub of former state House Speaker Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group Huawei says inclusion on US trade blacklist is in 'no one's interest' Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran 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