(CNN) - Senator Mel Martinez's decision not to run for re-election in 2010 for his seat from Florida signifies the failure of the Republican Party's outreach to minorities, and it points to difficulties Republicans could face in the 2010 election.
Republicans have always taken special pride in Senator Martinez. He's the former chairman of the Republican Party and the only Latino Republican in the Senate. His decision not to run for a second term indicates problems for the Republican Party.
"We need to have a legislative agenda that is centrist, that tends to be bipartisan, and stay away from those issues that have been so divisive in the past," said Martinez said last month.
One of those issues is immigration reform, which Martinez championed in the Senate. But many in the Republican Party were vocal in the opposition to immigration reform and critical of Martinez for his position.
"He has been under a great deal of pressure in Florida over immigration issues," says Matt Towrey, a political analyst who heads the polling for the political information firm Insider Advantage.
Martinez is the symbol of Republican outreach to Latino voters. That outreach failed this year. Among Latino voters nationwide, the Republican vote for Congress dropped 15 points from 2004 to 2008 - from 44 to 29 percent.
"Mel Martinez isn't strong enough to overcome the issues that otherwise took his backing of Latino voters away from the Republicans," adds Towrey.
Issues like the economy and the unpopularity of President Bush.
Republicans ought to be hopeful about 2010. The opposition party usually makes gains in a midterm election. But Republicans will be defending 19 seats, including Martinez's seat in Florida, while the Democrats will be trying to hold onto 17 seats.
Florida went for Obama this year. That could spell trouble for the GOP as they try to hold on to Martinez's seat in the next election.
"If Obama were to turn the economy around, then yes, it becomes very problematic, because Florida is a state that is very much on the edge," says Towrey.
Obama won Florida by three points this year. In 2004, Mel Martinez won Florida by just one point. And 2004 was a much better Republican year