(CNN) - Gov. Charlie Crist is brushing off news his top political adviser resigned Thursday night after the Florida Republican vetoed a GOP-backed education bill.
"[T]here is always a price to pay for making decisions in life, and in my business, in the political world, you take political hits, and that's OK, that's just part of it. But you have to do what you think is right at the end of the day," Crist said during an event in Miami Friday.
The Associated Press reported Thursday night that Connie Mack, a longtime political ally of Crist, tendered a letter of resignation because the governor had vetoed a bill favored by state Republican lawmakers and grassroots conservatives but largely unpopular among teachers' unions.
"As you know, I strongly disagree with your veto," the former senator wrote. "Your veto I believe undermines our education system in Florida ad the principles for which I have always stood.
Some political watchers say that Crist's veto may be a signal that the governor is positioning himself as a centrist and giving up his bid against Marco Rubio for the Republican Senate nomination. But on Friday, Crist denied that is the case.
"My veto is a signal that I thought the bill was bad. And I though we need to do it better and do it right for the people of state of Florida, especially the children and teachers," Crist said.
Crist's comments were made at a joint appearance on Friday with Alonzo Mourning at a Miami-Dade school named in honor of the former Miami Heat star.
When asked if he was considering a run as an independent in the Florida Senate race, Crist dodged the issue.
"I am trying to come to this great school and honor Alonzo Mourning, and we'll look at that [running as an independent] later on.
Crist has until the end of the month to declare if he'll remain in the GOP primary or run as an independent.
A Quinnipiac University poll indicates that Rubio, the former state house speaker and a darling of conservative activists, leads Crist by 23 points among Republican primary voters. But the survey of Florida voters, released Thursday, also indicates that Crist, if he chose to run as an independent, would hold a narrow edge in a three-way contest with Rubio and Rep. Kendrick Meek, the Democratic candidate in the race.
- Paul Steinhauser and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.