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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

A wakeup call for Donald Trump in must-win Florida?



As Donald Trump’s path to victory narrows to just a few key states, none is bigger or more diverse than Florida, making it crucial that he broaden his appeal.

But interviews with more than a dozen voters, several GOP strategists and observations at his campaign events show those efforts have been stymied by a slow, rough start in Trump’s general election campaign, the candidate’s explosive rhetoric and his inability to stay focused.

No doubt Trump is strong in the Sunshine State, as his blowout primary win illustrated. But if form follows and the race is decided on a narrow margin, he must expand what is overwhelmingly a white voter base and not alienate people he’s already drawn in.

“He needs to keep his mouth shut,” said Larry Nicholson, 64, a Republican from Orlando who still intends to vote for Trump but fears other Republicans and independents are being turned off by Trump’s abrasive personality and appetite for controversy.

“It’s turning me off in a way. I wonder if he can keep his temper to himself and be a leader. People are watching and learning, figuring it out,” Nicholson said, walking to his car after breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

“At first I was going to vote for Trump, but the more he talks … ” said DeDe Johnson, a moderate Republican who plans to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

More here.

[Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2016 11:28am]


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