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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott all but endorses Donald Trump

Gov. Rick Scott speaks during the opening of the Sunshine Summit held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on Nov. 13, 2015.

Octavio Jones | Times

Gov. Rick Scott speaks during the opening of the Sunshine Summit held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando on Nov. 13, 2015.

6

January

Gov. Rick Scott, once a political outsider himself, all but endorses Donald Trump in an op/ed for USA Today, saying the businessman "is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy."

"Political pundits are shocked that Donald Trump is leading in the polls. The same thing happened in 2010 when I entered the Florida gubernatorial race against the already anointed and establishment-endorsed sitting Republican attorney general. One establishment member even said to me “how can you be Governor? I don’t know you.

I won the governor’s race in 2010 and many outsiders — some businesspeople — continue to shock the political establishment by coming into elected office from careers outside of politics. Attorney Chris Christie was elected governor of New Jersey in 2009; manufacturer Ron Johnson was elected senator in Wisconsin in 2010; businessman Bruce Rauner won the governor’s race in Illinois in 2014; and businessman Matt Bevin won the governorship of Kentucky just a few months ago. Voters have been choosing new ideas and new energy over the old formula of sheer time served in political office.

I know Donald Trump personally, and while I currently have no plans to endorse a candidate before Florida’s March presidential primary, there is no doubt that Donald is a man who speaks and tweets his mind freely. But, I don’t think his ability to give the most interesting interviews or speeches is the only thing that has him leading in the polls. I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy.

... I continue to believe that our next president will be chosen because he or she has a believable plan for robust job creation in America. Yes, foreign policy and defense will be front burner issues in this election, but let’s not forget that without a thriving economy, we will never be able to afford the kind of vigorous defenses that our country must have.

The almost-endorsement was not unexpected. As Adam Smith wrote in October:

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.

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2016 12:11pm]

    

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