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Donald Trump to campaign in Tampa Feb. 12

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is planning a campaign event at the USF Sun Dome on February 12, sources inside the campaign and at the university tell

The event will likely come just days after Trump’s first victory of the 2016 GOP nominating contest. The New York real estate mogul and political novice is a heavy favorite to win the top spot in New Hampshire. A recent post-Iowa study shows Trump about 20 points ahead of his next-closest rival, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Trump came up three points short of a victory in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses last week. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz bested him there by about 3 percentage points, while Rubio surprised pollsters and pundits by registering a stronger than expected third-place finish.

Trump is no stranger to Florida, or to the Tampa Bay area.

Trump’s primary residence is in Palm Beach County, and Sarasota County GOP chairman Joe Gruters is co-chairing Trump’s campaign in Florida.

Gruters’ Sarasota GOP has twice awarded Trump its annual Statesman of the Year award.

“Never before has this prestigious award been given to the same person twice, until now, and we do so because Donald Trump is a man who combines all the best attributes as a skilled leader, a visionary and a man of renowned business success,” the party said last year after awarding Trump the commendation. “In the challenging times that we face, Trump has demonstrated that he has the solutions to put people back to work by creating new jobs and he has a vision of a strong America.”

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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