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Welcome to Miami, Mr. McCollum

Tonight's Miami-Dade Republican Party dinner is a key opportunity for statewide candidates from outside South Florida to show their face in the state's largest county. Lobbyist and political consultant Richard Pinsky said about 30 percent of the voters in a GOP primary come from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

"Bill McCollum has got to spend a considerable amount of time down here,'' Pinsky said of the attorney general and GOP frontrunner for governor in 2010. "Even though he's a statewide officeholder, there's a big disconnect between politics down here and Tallahassee."

U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow, who is running for agriculture commissioner, is also making the rounds at the Miami Airport Hilton. "I wouldn't miss it. Had to be here,'' he said.

Putnam is here with his campaign manager, Trey McCarley, who ran Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson's campaign.