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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Red flag on a Donald Trump Florida campaign leader



Donald Trump already has a dozen paid staffers on the ground in Florida, three campaign offices open or poised to open along the I-4 Corridor, and legions of energetic fans and volunteers eager to help him win Florida's March 15 presidential primary. But building a statewide campaign structure with dozens of county chairs can be tricky in a state where Jeb Bush early on locked down formal endorsements from the vast majority of the experienced political hands, and Marco Rubio was positioned to clean up most anybody not aligned with Bush.

It means sometimes a campaign like Trump's has to tap B-list local pol or activist. Exhibit A is in Orange County, where Frank Torres reported that local activist Randy Ross was named Trump's county chairman. Ross, a candidate for Orlando city council, made news earlier this year when he pleaded guilty to filing a false insurance claim and was sentenced to five years' probation.

No, that sort of blemish won't damage Trump in Florida, but it's the sort of necessary distraction that conventional top-tier candidates want to avoid. Nobody is calling Trump a conventional frontrunner, of course.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 4:45pm]


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