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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Thompson's supporters split among rivals



Top Fred Thompson supporters have been inundated with phone calls from rival campaigns since the news he'll withdrawal from the race. But so far, few have decided on their next horse.

Read below to see some early converts and others who are on the fence.

John Stemberger is a former "Fred Head" who recently switched to Mike Huckabee.

Former Pinellas County lawmaker Johnnie Byrd and Zephyrhills Councilman Danny Burgess are now lining up behind John McCain, joining state representatives Sandy Murman who also recently swapped.

Escambia County GOP Chairman Clay Ingram is leaning toward Mitt Romney.

State Rep. Clay Ford, a surrogate for Thompson, is considering Romney or McCain.

Pasco GOP Chairman Bill Bunting, who organized heavily for Thompson at gun shows across the state, is also considering those two candidates. While he's undecided, he knows one thing for sure: "I'll tell you who I'm not leaning toward, Rudy Giuliani."

Other Thompson supporters now undecided (that Buzz could reach by phone today): former state lawmakers Curt Kiser and Sandy Safley and Gary Cass, chairman of the Christian Anti-Defamation League.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 2:17pm]


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