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Manuel Sykes: I didn't agree to endorse Rick Scott

Published Oct. 7, 2014

Amy Hollyfield, Times Staff Writer

Monday, October 6, 2014 11:02am

Update: State Sen. Jack Latvala texted Adam C. Smith to say the 2 p.m. presser is canceled.

The Rev. Manuel Sykes hosted Gov. Rick Scott at Bethel Community Baptist Church on Sunday and later told Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Adam C. Smith that he was "heavily leaning towards" endorsing Gov. Rick Scott and was considering changing his party registration from Democrat to Republican.

"I have a pretty good comfort level with him now," Sykes said of the governor, who has enjoyed little African-American support in most public polls.

Elected Republican leaders from Pinellas have scheduled a news conference at 2 p.m. today at the C.A. Cafe in the historic Seaboard Train Station on 22nd Street S for "an important political announcement." Presumably, Sykes' news.

But Monday morning on Facebook, the Rev. Sykes changed his tune: "There is lot of talk about my endorsement of Gov. Scott. I didn't agree to do that. I realize that my motives would not be pure in doing so. Additionally I am guided by Matthew 25: 31-40. 'The least of these...' must be my priority. Lastly, Charlie Crist supported me recently when the NAACP disparaged my character. He refused to distance himself from me as others did. That I can not betray. Where I was raised, respect and loyalty.​"