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Ted Cruz makes play for Florida


The Florida duel between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio has a new player: Ted Cruz.

The Texas senator has opened 10 campaign offices in the Sunshine State ahead of the March 15 primary, volunteers told the Miami Herald. The campaign confirmed the new offices Friday, including one that opened a week ago on Miami's Sunset Road and 97th Avenue.

"Following a strong showing on Super Tuesday, the Cruz for President Campaign is communicating a serious commitment to competing hard in the winner-take-all Sunshine State primary on March 15th," the campaign said in a statement.

Lourdes Castillo de la Peña, a Cruz volunteer, said even if no Cruz  campaign stops are announced before next Thursday's Miami GOP debate, his fervent supporters have been making voter calls and organizing teams to knock on doors. She hopes to host Cruz's wife, Heidi, in Miami in the coming week.

Manny Roman, the Miami-Dade GOP vice-chairman who was nearly kicked out of the party for publicly announcing his role in Cruz's campaign, made sure to stand just outside Rubio's Miami rally Tuesday night, to remind reporters that some Cuban-American Republicans in town were backing a different senator for president.

It's unclear if Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will campaign in Florida. Kasich has to focus on his own home state, which votes the same day as Florida. And candidates who don't have a chance to win Florida outright sometimes skip the state altogether, because it's so expensive to campaign across Florida's 10 media markets. It costs a campaign about $2 million a week to advertise in all those places -- far more than a candidate is willing to spend for a no-delegates, second-place finish. No Cruz ads have hit airwaves here yet.

Cruz is third in Real Clear Politics' average of Florida polls. He could play spoiler to Rubio as the Florida senator tries to survive his must-win state.

Here are the Cruz office locations:

23 Palafox Place
Pensacola, FL 32501
10210 San Jose Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32257
11406 N Dale Mabry Hwy
Suite 201
Tampa, FL 33618
285 South Central Avenue
Umatilla, FL 32784
835 Executive Lane
Rockledge, FL 32955
122 E. Main Street
Lakeland, FL 33801
11922 Fairway Lakes Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33913
850 Central Avenue
Naples, FL 34102
1075 Broken Sound Pkwy NW
Suite 103
Boca Raton, FL 33487
9644 SW 72nd Street
Miami, FL 33173