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Carlos Beruff will attend GOP convention

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Carlos Beruff is headed to Cleveland.

The Manatee County Republican’s campaign announced Tuesday that Beruff would be attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. The announcement comes about a week after Sen. Marco Rubio said he would not be attending the convention, choosing instead to stay in Florida to campaign for re-election.

“Unlike Marco Rubio, Carlos wholeheartedly supports Donald Trump and will do whatever he can to help him beat Hillary Clinton in November,” said Chris Hartline, a Beruff spokesman.

Rubio had originally planned to attend the convention, but a spokeswoman for the Miami Republican told CNN last week that since he got into the race late, he planned to be in Florida “campaigning and meeting with voters instead of going to Ohio.”

Rubio has said he would support Trump, presumptive Republican nominee, although it has been a reluctant support. In the final weeks of his presidential campaign, Rubio became a frequent punching bag of the New York Republican and Rubio often criticized Trump.

Beruff, on the other hand, has embraced Trump. He has said he supports him, and during a forum in Fort Myers earlier this month he said he would be a  “lieutenant to Mr. Trump to pass his agenda” if elected to the U.S. Senate.

In June, Beruff said he would happily take Rubio’s slot at the convention because he is “not ashamed of Donald Trump as our nominee.”

“Trump is motiving voters across Florida and the country who have felt ignored by the Republican and Democratic establishment alike,” he said at the time. “He’s looking to shake up Washington, and I’m behind him 100%.”

Beruff has poured millions of his own money into the race, and has said he would continue to do so. But he still lags behind in the polls, and Rubio’s entry in the contest didn’t help him. A recent Associated Industries of Florida poll showed Rubio led Beruff 71 percent to 7 percent.

His decision to attend the convention also means he’ll be off the campaign trail for several days, a tactic that could prove problematic. Despite an expensive ad buy, Beruff is still largely unknown, and the convention comes about a month before the Aug. 30 primary.

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