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Mitch Perry Report for 3.10.16 – Why hasn’t the Florida GOP establishment rallied around Marco Rubio?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

In what is being dubbed by critics as the “low-energy” summit, Jeb Bush is scheduled to meet today in Miami separately with John Kasich and Ted Cruz, after reportedly already meeting with Marco Rubio on Wednesday.

The idea being, I take it, is that Jeb might come out with an endorsement. If he’s going to do that, it should happen today, when it would have maximum impact, hours before tonight’s GOP presidential debate on the UM campus.

One would assume that Jeb won’t endorse Rubio. If he were to, what’s he been waiting for? What is remarkable is how many Florida Republicans who supported Bush (most of the Tallahassee establishment) have failed to lift a figure to help Rubio out once Jeb bowed out after his fourth-place performance in South Carolina last month.

Neither has former RPOF chair Al Cardenas, who allegedly is friendly with Marco and isn’t backing anyone in the race.

Richard Corcoran, Marco’s former chief-of-staff when he was House Speaker, notably endorsed Bush this year, as did Will Weatherford or many other former state legislators.

Has Marco become a creature against the Washington establishment that he castigates on a daily basis? The fact is that he does have a number of endorsements from Republicans – who he works with in Washington.

Not that it’s helped much.

An anecdote related by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn earlier this week I believe says volumes about Rubio’s outreach to the state that he’s represented in Washington over the past five years.

Buckhorn told MSNBC that he’s never met the senator, despite the fact that they’ve both been in office for the past half-decade.

The fact is, Rubio has rarely shown his face in Tampa at all since he was elected. He was a frequent visitor to the Bay area during his 2009-2010 campaign for Senate, but has been a stranger to these parts since.

I don’t have the statistics, but I would dare say it may have been less than a handful of times. The only time I can recall observing Rubio here was when he spoke before the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

In other news..

There are SO many polls in Florida regarding next week’s primary, , but they all come to the same conclusion regarding the GOP race – Marco Rubio is in deep against Trump. Then again, another poll shows Rubio within six points.

Bernie Sanders is calling on Rick Scott to veto the most recent bill limiting abortion in Florida that will soon reach his desk.

According to Facebook “interactions” over the past 30 days, Floridians are most interested in Cuba, followed by immigration when it comes to national issues. That differs from the rest of the country, where it’s religion and the economy who are one-two (we’ll have an update on that in an upcoming story today).

Some Florida immigration activists say they intend to register more Latino voters than ever this spring and summer, all so they can vote against Donald Trump this fall.

Well, it’s certainly exciting for all of those who are participating in the Florida presidential primary. Unless you’re an independent, non-party-affiliated voter, in which your s*it out of luck.

Darden Rice tells Florida Democratic leaders, “thanks, but no thanks,” to the suggestion that she run against GOP incumbent state senator Jeff Brandes this fall.

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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 mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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