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Jeb Bush no longer scheduled to address media at Hillsborough GOP Lincoln Dinner this Friday

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When it was announced back in April that Jeb Bush would be headlining the Hillsborough County Republican Party at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner this Friday night, local party chair Deborah Tamargo said that there would be time set aside for local reporters to get a chance to ask questions of the former Florida governor before he addressed the estimated 500 local Republicans expected to attend the fundraiser.

But that was before Bush became an “official” candidate for president earlier this week, says Tamargo, meaning that his campaign team is handling his appearance at the Pepin Hospitality Center, not the local Executive Committee.

And that means as of now that availability with the press is no longer in the cards.

In fact, members of the press will no longer even be in the same hall as the presidential candidate to hear him speak to local Republicans. Tamargo says that reporters will be segregated from the general audience at the event, and be stationed at an enclosed patio area in the Pepin Hall, where they’ll be able to watch and hear the speech via a video transmission.

Tamargo said on Tuesday she had reached out to the Bush camp about who was handling credentialing to the media for the event, as she has begun getting inquiries from reporters from outside of Florida.

Although Bush has engaged in question-and-answer sessions with the public at many public events this year and said he hopes to hold as many such exchanges as possible with the public, there are no plans for him to do that on Friday night. He is scheduled simply to be the keynote speaker.

The Hillsborough County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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