ORLANDO, Fla. - What Gov. Rick Scott bills as an Economic Growth Summit puts the Sunshine State in the center of Republican Party presidential politics Tuesday as most of the major declared candidates for 2016, and those expected to join in the race, convene at one event for the first time.
Seven GOP candidates have confirmed they will speak in 30-minute increments to an estimated crowd of 400 invited to the summit, organized and hosted by Scott's "Let's Get To Work" political action committee at Walt Disney World Yacht Club Convention Center.
Florida has been the largest swing state in the last two presidential elections and remains so, with 29 critical, winner-take-all electoral votes.
Both Florida candidates, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush, are scheduled to speak -- Rubio in the morning and Bush in the afternoon -- mitigating chances they will meet.
The line-up also includes Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Based on previews of a welcome video scheduled to air, Scott will tout Florida's economic growth and increase in private sector job numbers to the audience. The governor is widely expected to run for Rubio's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat. Some surmise the governor is tacitly auditioning as a possible vice presidential running mate.
The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions; whether the questions would first be screened is unclear.
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