Carlos Curbelo is not very popular among his former Republican primary rivals.
The GOP nominee for Florida's 26th congressional district, who is campaigning to unseat Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia, tried a few weeks ago to win the endorsement of opponent Joe Martinez -- who turned him down.
"I told him we differed on a lot of things," Martinez said Tuesday.
That news comes on the heels of primary runner-up Ed MacDougall telling acquaintances they shouldn't vote for Curbelo because he won't disclose his government and public relations firm's clients.
Curbelo didn't seek MacDougall's endorsement, not after a bruising primary in which MacDougall, the Cutler Bay mayor, repeatedly attacked Curbelo, who ended up winning the five-way race by 22 points.
But Curbelo, a Miami-Dade school board member, did meet with Martinez, a former county commissioner, after the Aug. 26 primary. Martinez placed third, though he received the second-highest number of votes in the Miami-Dade County portion of the district, which spans Westchester to Key West.
"They've been friends, and they talked about many things," Curbelo's communications director, Wadi Gaitan, said Tuesday.
According to Martinez, the two men didn't part on bad terms, but he couldn't back a candidate who had been supported by the GOP establishment to the dismay of other Republican hopefuls.
"We're talking about the Republican Party getting behind him and intervening in the primary, which they never should have done," Martinez said. "I was upset about that."
He blamed not only the National Republican Congressional Committee but also former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Miami Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, all of whom flaunted their Curbelo endorsements before the primary election.
Martinez said he disagrees with Curbelo on policy matters, including Curbelo's support of the Common Core educational standards, immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, and gay marriage.
And he predicted that some longtime constituents would list "Joe Martinez" a write-in candidate on the ballot before voting for Curbelo or Garcia, "as a sign of protest to the Republican Party."