"Mel Martinez ran a strong race and has emerged out of a deeply talented and highly regarded Republican field," Allen said of the former U.S. Housing Secretary.
A native of Cuba, Martinez fled Communism as a small boy, settling in Florida. He later was elected chairman of the Orange County, Fla., commission.
A late entry into the race, Martinez emerged out of a crowded GOP filed to win the primary with 44.8 percent of the more than 1 million votes cast. Former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, who lost a tightly contested 2000 Senate race to incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, and who most polls had showed in the lead, finished second.