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Mississippi governor visits Florida lawmakers

By Brent Kallestad

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, April 7 2011 6:45 p.m. MDT

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour talks to Florida state representatives about upcoming presidential election on Thursday, April 7, 2011 in Tallahassee, Fla.

Steve Cannon, Associated Press

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour continued his trek across the country on Thursday with an overnight stopover in Florida where he visited with lawmakers and key part officials about the possibility of seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

Barbour chatted briefly with several senators on the Senate floor Thursday and later with House Republicans. He was being escorted by Sally Bradshaw, a top adviser to former Gov. Jeb. Bush and longtime acquaintance of Barbour's.

"I'm going wherever Sally takes me," Barbour said. "I'm just seeing some people, then on to South Carolina and back home."

The 63-year-old former chairman of the Republican National Committee has also already visited several states with early presidential caucuses or primaries, including Iowa and South Carolina. Barbour said he planned to make a decision on running by the end of the month.

I'll be in or out by the end of April, but I won't make a decision until the end of April," Barbour said. He has already tested the waters with Republicans in California, Nevada, Illlinois and Iowa, where President Barack Obama's campaign was jump-started in 2008. Obama eventually carried Florida in the general election by nearly 250,000 votes.

Barbour was welcomed onto the Senate floor shortly before its adjournment, but a scheduled 7 p.m. meeting with House Republicans was delayed by more than an hour as that chamber finished its business for the day. He was scheduled to meet new Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Friday.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited with some Republican lawmakers in mid-February. Pawlenty was the first of several prospective 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls to accept an invitation from Senate President Mike Haridopolos to visit. Haridopolos is seeking the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Bill Nelson.

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