The adage that victory has a hundred fathers while defeat is an orphan may be playing out on Donald Trump campaign stages as the presidential contest in Florida hurtles into its final days.
Trump barnstormed across the state for three days last week, hitting a half-dozen cities even as nationwide polls show his White House bid likely slipping away. He’s back this week with events planned for Pensacola, Miami, Orlando and Jacksonville.
The race remains tighter in Florida but state Republican leaders – and most GOP candidates – steer clear of him.
“I’m spending most of my time being governor,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who last week failed to attend a Trump rally in his Naples hometown and then cited a scheduling conflict for keeping him from another Trump event in Tallahassee.
With shared business backgrounds, Scott endorsed Trump hours after he won the state’s Republican primary in March. Scott was even briefly mentioned as a possible running mate, and continues to chair a Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, which has spent $17 million helping the nominee, mostly with TV spots.
But Scott, like many Republican leaders and campaign analysts, seem to view Trump now as having little chance of winning.
Sharing a stage with the polarizing nominee carries some political risk. Yet few Florida elected officials want to break with Trump and openly antagonize his voters, a dynamic similar to that which helped him blaze through the GOP presidential primary field.
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