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Rick Scott: Fellow outsider Donald Trump “has America’s pulse”

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Gov. Rick Scott says he won’t endorse in the 2016 GOP presidential contest, but he did come out Wednesday morning with kind words for Donald Trump.

In an Op-Ed piece for USA Today, Scott said he feels affinities with the New York real estate mogul, comparing Trump’s “nontraditional” run for the White House to his own outsider campaign for governor in 2010.

“Political pundits are shocked that Donald Trump is leading in the polls,” wrote Scott. “The same thing happened in 2010 when I entered the Florida gubernatorial race against the already anointed and establishment-endorsed sitting Republican attorney general. One establishment member even said to me ‘how can you be Governor? I don’t know you.'”

“I know Donald Trump personally, and while I currently have no plans to endorse a candidate before Florida’s March presidential primary, there is no doubt that Donald is a man who speaks and tweets his mind freely,” Scott continued, in a reference to Trump’s freewheeling style online and in the flesh.

“But, I don’t think his ability to give the most interesting interviews or speeches is the only thing that has him leading in the polls. I think he is capturing the frustration of many Americans after seven years of President Obama’s very intentional government takeover of the American economy.”

Scott concluded with an on-message coda about jobs, jobs and more jobs, but not before an intriguing appeal to Trump’s revolutionary potential.

“Our next president cannot simply tweak our national economic policies,” wrote Scott. “We need a complete overhaul.”

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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