Florida GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, who has been avoiding reporters since Donald Trump's Billy Bush tape surfaced, finally agreed to discuss his party's Republican nominee tonight before the start of the annual Republican Party of Florida Victory Dinner in Tampa.
"What Donald Trump said in that videotape was offensive. It was degrading to women, and I'm not going to defend it because it's indefensible," said Ingoglia, a state representative from Spring Hill. "But what's equally offensive is the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency. I think that's what a lot of Republicans are concerned....We're going to continue doing what we do, which is getting as many Republicans out to the polls as possible."
He acknowledged some loyal Republicans have reservations about Trump, saying he tells them to consider "everything they have worked for over the past 10, 20 years in trying to get good conservative Republicans elected and advocating for those types of policies, could all get wiped away in one election."
Headliners tonight are Marco Rubio and Mike Pence. At least 600 guests are expected that the downtown Tampa Hilton. Tickets started at $250.
We found only one Republican unwilling to say they support or plan to vote for Trump: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
"I support Marco Rubio," said Lopez-Cantera, when asked if he supports the GOP nominee. He did say he will not vote for Clinton, but declined to answer whether he will vote for Trump.
Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, Trump's top supporters in Florida, did not attend. Nor did CFO Jeff Atwater. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam introduced Pence, with whom he served in the U.S. House.
--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times