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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Awkwardness persists for Florida fans of Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio



ORLANDO – Marco Rubio may be pushing past Jeb Bush but torn feelings remain strong for some Florida Republicans gathered here for the Sunshine Summit.

“It’s just awkward because we love both of them so much. A lot of us are just avoiding dealing with it and letting it play out,” said state Rep. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, who served on Rubio’s leadership team when the presidential candidate was House speaker.

“Republicans will sort it out,” he said. "Marco is great, but is the right time? It may be. Or you might also say, 'Who can demonstrate the ability to run a big organization?' and Jeb starts picking up. Jeb has gotten banged around. He’s used to walking in the room and being the guy. This has been a tough experience for him. But I think he’s recovering.

“Probably for Marco, the biggest challenge is this whole immigration thing. Anybody who wants to win this primary better start emphasizing how we’re going to lock down and restore the rule of law. It's not about prejudice. It’s this uneasiness that nobody has to live by the rule and that we don’t know who’s here. They just walk in and out. I told Marco a long time ago ‘I can’t fix it. I’m an old white guy. You’re the guy who can work on this and come up a real answer.’ He worked hard at it and I admire him because it’s very risky work. It cost him. It hurt him.”

The loyalty for Rubio and Bush extends only so far. As we wrote today, the state is no longer a lock for either.

[Last modified: Saturday, November 14, 2015 12:03pm]


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