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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott says he will not endorse a candidate for the Republican nomination



There will be no photograph of Rick Scott endorsing Donald Trump.

The Florida governor said Thursday that he won't formally back any Republican presidential candidate.

"I believed in the voters when I first ran for office, and I still believe in them today," he wrote on Facebook.

Scott had all but endorsed Trump in a USA Today column published in January. Rumors ran rampant in Florida political circles over the past few days that Scott would make his choice official soon -- either when Trump celebrated Super Tuesday election results at his Palm Beach estate of Mar-a-Lago two days ago, or in Trump's upcoming Orlando rally.

But neither proved to be true.

Endorsing Trump beyond the USA Today column would have put Scott at odds with most GOP lawmakers in Tallahassee, something that might matter little to the governor in a year when the Legislature has ignored most of his priorities. But if Scott really wants to run for U.S. Senate in 2018, he could use support from Florida's Republican establishment, most of which is siding with presidential contender Marco Rubio.

Here is Scott's Facebook post:

I have made it my practice to not get involved in primaries because picking the Republican candidate is the voters' job.

The political class opposed me when I first ran for office, they did not want a businessman outsider, but the voters had other ideas.

I trust the voters, so I will not try to tell the Republican voters in Florida how to vote by endorsing a candidate before our primary on March 15. I believed in the voters when I first ran for office, and I still believe in them today.

I continue to believe that economic growth and job creation is the most crucial issue for the next President to tackle. We have turned our economy around here in Florida by bringing conservative free market principles to government. Without economic growth our country will fail to become stronger domestically or internationally.



[Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2016 3:54pm]


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