Key Fla. Senator Backs McCain

Martinez's support could swing Cuban vote in Tuesday's GOP primary
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 25, 2008 7:22 PM CST
Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., right, stops to ask a reporter's question regarding his endorsement of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,center, upon their arrival for a campaign appearance...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Mel Martinez will back John McCain in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, the Florida senator announced today after earlier waffling. Martinez’s endorsement could boost McCain’s appeal among Hispanics, an important demographic in Tuesday's primary, the Associated Press reports. “I would trust the future and the security of this nation to this man,” Martinez said.

Martinez’s announcement is bad news for Rudy Giuliani, whose campaign’s survival could hinge on a Florida win. The former New York mayor has been battling McCain for Cuban-American votes; Martinez, a former Republican National Committee chairman, was born in Cuba. “I would not endorse someone that I didn't have total confidence is going to be [Fidel] Castro's worst nightmare,” he said today.