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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Trump returns to Florida on 'thank you' tour

Then-candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Sarasota on Nov. 7, the day before winning the presidential election.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Then-candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Sarasota on Nov. 7, the day before winning the presidential election.

16

December

President-elect Donald Trump returns to Florida today for his first pubic event in the state since it helped him win the presidency last month.

Trump is set to speak at a campaign-style rally at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando at 7 p.m. as part of his USA Thank You Tour. Vice president-elect Mike Pence will be on hand as well.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are scheduled to appear at the rally. State Rep. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, who co-chaired Trump's Florida campaign, will be master of ceremonies.

Bondi is considered a likely pick for a White House job. Friday morning, Scott said he hoped the attorney general would remain in Florida.

"Pam Bondi's a friend. I hope she doesn't leave," Scott said. "If she does, I know she'll work hard and will do a good job but my goal is that she not leave."

The USA Thank You Tour has brought the president-elect to battleground states key to his election night victory. And Florida's 29 electoral votes were critical to that win.

Trump made dozens of appearances in Florida during the campaign, pushing hard to take a must-win state that voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. With polls showing him neck-and-neck with Hillary Clinton in Florida in the final days of the campaign, Trump won by 112,911 votes.

For the most part, the tour events have been similar to Trump campaign stops. However, he has made news at some of them. In Cincinnati on Dec. 1, Trump announced that he would appoint retired Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense.

--Times/Herald staff writer Mary Ellen Klas contributed reporting.

[Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2016 10:26am]

    

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