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Now it’s 13: Ben Carson latest to attend Florida GOP Sunshine Summit

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Now it’s a Baker’s Dozen.

Retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson will be the 13th candidate to appear at the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit, scheduled next week in Orlando.

“We are excited to welcome Ben Carson to our list of presidential candidates speaking at the Sunshine Summit in Orlando,” said a statement Wednesday from RPOF officials. “With the event just nine days away, our grassroots are ready to hear candidates share their vision for the future of our nation in what will be one of the largest political events in Florida this year.”

The lineup now stands at Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul and Donald Trump.

Rubio is scheduled to be lead-off the event, set at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel Nov. 12-14. The Florida senator will speak at 11:30 a.m. Friday, giving him an opportunity to set the pace and gather some early news-cycle coverage. Trump will finish the first-day roster at 5:30 p.m., with presidential campaign breakout receptions afterward.

Fiorina, according to the agenda, will close the Summit with a 4 p.m. speech Saturday.

On the RPOF website, there was no indication yet when Carson would be scheduled to speak.

With the latest addition, the Sunshine Summit now will host all leading candidates in the GOP presidential race.

In a recent average of the national polling compiled by the Huffington Post, Carson comes in second with 23 percent support, behind Trump, who averages nearly 28 percent. Carson, who has been making the rounds in Florida on a book tour, also took the lead in an Oct. 30 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, edging out Trump 29 to 23 percent.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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