Sen. Allen Backs Martinez Senate Bid

With a few exceptions, party campaign committees and their chairmen don't intervene in primary battles, preferring to let the rank and file decide the candidate for fall campaigns.

But Sen. George Allen (search), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (search), is making an exception in the case of Florida senatorial contender Mel Martinez (search): Allen intends to declare his personal support Monday for the former HUD secretary.

While Allen plans to contribute to Martinez' campaign and may campaign for him, the NRSC intends to remain neutral, a spokesman said. "Sen. Allen's support for Martinez does not indicate that the NRSC will spend resources on Martinez' behalf in the primary," added Dan Allen.

Martinez trails former Republican Rep. Bill McCollum (search) in the polls before an August primary that has drawn several contenders. The incumbent, Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, is retiring at the end of the term.

The Cuban-born Martinez was heavily recruited this year by the White House as well as Allen, with party leaders eager for a Hispanic on the ballot to attract voters who might also support President Bush's re-election.