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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

How long before Rick Scott endorses Donald Trump?



Florida's political world has long known about Rick Scott's bromance with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. But in the crowded Republican presidential field, Scott also had extensive consultant ties to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and plenty of appreciation for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who led the the Republican Governor's Association when it pumped $18-million into Scott's reelection campaign.

None of those trains appear to be leaving the station, however. And Scott has never had a strong relationship with Jeb Bush or with Marco Rubio (especially not Jeb), so neither seemed likely first choice picks for Scott.

Now Donald Trump has emerged as the clear frontrunner, and --- surprise! -- he is building a Florida team dominated by strong Rick Scott loyalists: Susie Wiles, Scott's former campaign manager, is on board. So is Sarasota GOP Chairman Joe Gruters, an early Scott endorser in 2010 whom the governor appointed to FSU's board of trustees in 2011. Scott surely appreciates that Trump has donated at least $100,000 to his political committee.

Trump stands to have a big, symbolic Florida victory early next month, when the Alachua County GOP holds its annual Black Tie and Blue Jeans gala dinner, which will feature a non-binding straw poll vote on the presidential field. Coincidentally, that event will be the first county GOP dinner Gov. Scott has attended this year.

So let's really get those conspiracy theories revving: Rick Scott for HHS Secretary under President Trump? Commerce Secretary? Trump support for Scott's expected U.S. Senate run in 2018?

[Last modified: Monday, October 26, 2015 2:36pm]


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