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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

David Jolly isn't ready to back Donald Trump

UPDATE: Jolly campaign spokeswoman Sarah Bascom sent us her comment this afternoon: "Rep. Jolly congratulates Mr. Trump on his historic victory in the Republican primary. Mr. Trump has won the support of millions of Floridians and has earned the opportunity to unify and lead the party in providing an alternative vision for the future of the country than that of President Obama and Secretary Clinton."

After a sweeping victory Tuesday in Indiana's presidential primary, Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, and party leaders are starting to fall in line behind him.

Except for one of Florida’s Republican Senate candidates.

U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, isn’t saying whether he’ll vote for the bombastic real estate mogul.

"I am undecided whether I will be supporting Mr. Trump in November," Jolly wrote in a March 18 form letter, provided this week by his campaign in response to questions about the congressman's presidential vote.

But, he wrote, he won't support Hillary Clinton.

After Trump became the only candidate still in the Republican race, Jolly spokeswoman Sarah Bascom issued the following statement, but the congressman still has not committed to voting for Trump: "Mr. Trump has won the support of millions of Floridians and has earned the opportunity to unify and lead the party in providing an alternative vision for the future of the country than that of President Obama and Secretary Clinton."

Jolly's relationship with Trump has changed over the past six months as the reality television star has turned into the likely presidential nominee.

In December, Jolly called on Trump to withdraw from the race, citing "his brutal, bullying bigotry." By Florida's presidential primary in March, Jolly's tone had changed: He was not ready to endorse Trump, but he didn't want party leaders to go against the will of voters and stop him, either.

Until Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera of Miami simply wasn’t talking about Trump.

Lopez-Cantera, who backed Sen. Marco Rubio until he dropped out of the race after the Florida primary, said earlier this week that he was “focused on his Senate race and delivering results for Florida” in response to questions about Trump.

Now, though, “Carlos Lopez-Cantera believes that we must defeat Hillary Clinton by electing a Republican president,” spokeswoman Courtney Alexander said.

Read the full story.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 3:39pm]

    

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