[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/12/art.mitch0512.gi.jpg caption="Senate Minority Leader Mitch, pictured, has endorsed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist in the Senate bid Crist announced Tuesday."]
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, endorsed Florida Gov. Charlie Crist for Senate Tuesday, yet another sign that national Republicans are looking to avoid a GOP primary in the Sunshine State.
Crist announced earlier in the day that he would not seek another term as governor, opting instead for a senatorial bid. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn immediately announced that he was backing Crist over former state House Speaker Marco Rubio in the GOP primary.
Rubio criticized the NRSC's decision.
Like Cornyn, McConnell said Crist would receive his full support in the Florida governor's bid to keep retiring Sen. Mel Martinez's seat in Republican hands.
"Decisions are being made every day in Washington that have a direct impact upon the lives of all Americans and we need Charlie Crist in the U.S. Senate to ensure that those decisions will benefit the citizens of Florida," McConnell said in a statement released by Crist's campaign.