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Bus is late as GOP launches early voting bus tour

Florida Republicans on Thursday launched a two-day bus tour promoting early voting that will hit eight cities and conclude Friday afternoon at Sun City Center near Tampa. 

U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (speaking at left) all spoke to a small gathering of activists and RPOF staff members at the kickoff rally at state OP headquarters in Tallahassee.

One small problem with the bus tour at the outset: No bus. Due to mechanical problems, the bus wasn't at party headquarters, so Carroll and Putnam drove west to meet the bus at or near Lake City, the second scheduled stop. Other stops were planned for Palm Coast, DeLand, Tavares and Brooksville. 

"Turn out and vote now," Carroll said. "Because Election Day comes around, life gets in the way, you may forget to vote. It's too critical for us not to cast our ballot."

Putnam followed Carroll to the microphone and said: "Lt. Gov. Carroll, I'm so excited about spending the next two days on a bus with you. We're going to have a good time ... "

"Let the rumors begin, Adam!" Carroll shouted from behind.

Early voting historically has favored Democrats, while absentee or mail voting has historically favored Republicans in Florida.

Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, the Republicans' U.S. Senate nomineewere scheduled to meet the bus tour in Newberry near Gainesville later Thursday for an election year tradition, the Black Tie and Blue Jeans barbecue.

-- Steve Bousquet