May 15, 2017

Adam Putnam brings his campaign for Florida governor to Broward

Putnam Broward w Swindell EKM

@amysherman1

The tony Fort Lauderdale beachside hotel where Adam Putnam campaigned for Florida governor Monday was entirely different territory from the historic Polk County Courthouse where he debuted his candidacy last week, surrounded by crates of Florida oranges and the sounds of a marching-band fiddle.

In Broward, the most liberal county in the state, Putnam knew to offer the sort of business-friendly message that binds Republicans together.

“Whether you grow up in downtown Pompano or in a small town in the middle of the state like where I’m from we need to have a job climate in Florida that doesn’t require you to leave your town to find a decent career,” Putnam said at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66.

Keep reading here.

Miami Herald photo by Emily Michot of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam speaking with Bob Swindell, with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, and Jose Basulto, with Memorial Hospital System.

May 10, 2017

Putnam says Scott shouldn't veto entire budget

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via @adamsmithtimes

After formally kicking off his campaign for governor in one of the most picturesque launches we've seen from a Florida politician in a long time, Adam Putnam breezed through a line of reporters by his campaign bus to quickly answer one question per reporter. Some he answered directly, others not so much.

On whether Gov. Rick Scott should veto the whole budget passed by the legislature: "I would take a large veto pen to the line items. I think that vetoing the whole thing throws it back into the hands of the legislature, and it's a blunt force instrument. I think that the governor can more successfully impose his views through the use of the line item veto."

On whether he might support Florida seeking a waiver, allowed under the U.S. House's American Health Care Act, from the requirement that insurance must accept people with pre-existing conditions and charge them the same as people without: "It's something that has huge impacts on Florida, and the next governor and the current governor aee going to need to make sure that whatever Washington does is not something that is going to further reduce choices and stand between patients and doctors. We have a situation in Florida now where a large number of our counties only have one (provider) option. That's not a viable solution."

On the suggestion that Putnam is a career politician, at a time when political outsiders are in favor: "Floridians want a governor who knows the state, who knows the problems facing our state and how to fix them and how to treat people along the way. My experience managing crises from managing wildfires to managing a large organization and bringing a business background to this is going to make me the most prepared candidate for governor regardless of who runs."

On whether he could face a strong primary challenge from the right; "I'm a Bartow-raised farmer, and I'm a conservative. Anyone who wants to run for governor is welcome to pack a lunch and come on."

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

Putnam: Florida can be 'launch pad for the American Dream'

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via @adamsmithtimes

BARTOW -- Adam Putnam, the fifth generation Florida native and Republican agriculture commissioner, has been planning and building towards his gubernatorial campaign for years if not decades. On Wednesday he offered his vision for where he next wants to lead Florida Florida.

“We’ve got to put Florida first to make sure that it isn’t only the place where people come after a life well-lived somewhere else; it’s where they come to launch their own American Dream," said Putnam, the 42-year-old former congressional leader and product of a prominent agriculture family. 

“Our state can be the launch pad for the American Dream," he said. "The state that is the fishing capital of the world can also be the state that builds the boats and trains the craftsmen. The state that trained millions of soldiers and sailors and airmen can retrain our citizens with the skills that allow them to compete in a rapidly changing world – and win. The state that put a man on the moon can build the tools for the next giant leap for mankind."

It was a setting befitting Norman Rockwell, with Putnam in front of crates of Florida oranges and the domed, 108-year-old historic Polk County Courthouse draped with the flags of Florida and America. Supporters were entertained by the Polk High marching band and the fiddle and double base of Lakeland's Brian Southerland Band.

"Some people say that this doesn't exist any more," said Putnam, noting the flags waving and prayer on the courthouse steps

Republicans have controlled the governor's office and Tallahasee for nearly two decades, and Putnam on Wednesday sounded like he saw little need for a change in direction. He spoke broadly of focusing on education, and job-training, as well as protecting gun rights and Florida's natural resources.

“American exceptionalism is real. If you ever doubt that.  Look at the grocery clerk in Lakeland who revolutionized the supermarket industry, Or the cashier on I-Drive who now owns the souvenir shop. It’s the truck driver hauling fruit who saved up to buy an orange grove, and then another. It’s the hotel maid who now runs her own bed and breakfast," Putnam said before a crowd of nearly 1,000 people. 

“Hard-working folks like these have been able to achieve their American Dream right here in Florida. I want every single Floridian to be able to tell a similar story. I want people around the country to know this is where it happens. It’s why we have more work to do. It’s why we’ve got to keep fighting to put Florida first and make our state the launch pad for the American dream. “And it’s why I am running for Governor of the great state of Florida."

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

Here's Putnam's team for Florida governor campaign

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via @adamsmithtimes

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who on Wednesday morning formally kicks off his campaign for governor on the steps of  the 108-year-old former Polk County Courthouse in his hometown of Bartow, has assembled an A-list campaign team. Potentially more important is his Imperial Polk County DNA, considering the political giants Polk has produced for Florida.

The operatives on Putnam's team include veterans of Putnam's two decade political career, including Mac Stevenson of Sarasota-based Political Insights, and Justin Hollis, handling fundraising. Amanda Bevis, Putnam's former deputy chief of staff at the state Department of Agriculture, is handling communications.

The Tarrance Group, which has helped elect dozens of senators and governors, including Govs. John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconson, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, and Mitch Snyder of Michigan, is the pollster. Putnam's ad guy is Jim Innocenzi of Sandler-Innocenzi, which for three decades has worked with clients including Ben Carson, Govs. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, Butch Otter of Idaho, and Jim Gibbons of Nevada, and Florida U.S. Reps. Tom Rooney and John Mica.

Continue reading "Here's Putnam's team for Florida governor campaign" »

May 09, 2017

Putnam to kick off campaign for governor with bus tour

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via @adamsmithtimes

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam will kick off a 10-day bus tour following his official announcement at the old Imperial Polk Courthouse Wednesday in Bartow. Nice to see an old campaign tradition hasn't entirely died off. Here's the schedule:

Wednesday, May 10               

Bartow, Florida

Thursday, May 11                  

Dover, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Friday, May 12     

Naples, Florida

Ft. Myers, Florida

Saturday, May 13                  

Sebring, Florida

Okeechobee, Florida

Monday, May 15                     

Riviera Beach, Florida

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Miami, Florida

Tuesday, May 16                    

Vero Beach, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Altamonte Springs, Florida

Wednesday, May 17               

The Villages, Florida

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Thursday, May 18                 

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Friday, May 19                      

 Pensacola, Florida

Destin, Florida

Graceville, Florida

Saturday, May 20                   

O’Brien, Florida

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

Photo credit: Steve Cannon, Associated Press

May 01, 2017

Adam Putnam formally launches bid for governor

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via @adamsmithtimes

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam today filed papers to run for governor in 2018, making official what has long been expected.

Putnam: “I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because I get to call Florida home. It’s our responsibility as Floridians to keep our economy at work, to increase access to high quality education, to fiercely protect our personal freedoms, to keep our state safe, and to welcome our veterans home with open arms. I hope everyone will join me on May 10 at 11:00 a.m.on the old county courthouse steps in Bartow, where I’ll share my vision for Florida’s future.”

Democratic former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee has an announcement scheduled for tomorrow in Miami-Dade County that is expected to make her bid for governor official too.

Photo credit: AP

April 14, 2017

Conservative groups pushes Ron DeSantis to run for governor

  DesantisAP

@JeremySWallace

A conservative political action committee is trying to rally national support around U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in hopes he will run for governor of Florida in 2018.

The Madison Project, which backed DeSantis's brief 2016 U.S. Senate campaign, put out a statement on a popular conservative website telling readers that DeSantis should run.

"He's not just a regional candidate - Ron is a Congressman who has worked hard to represent the entire state of Florida," the statement attributed to Madison Project president Jim Ryun says. "Running for governor is a no brainer for him."

The statement was on The Resurgent, a popular blog site created by Erick Erickson, a conservative radio host and political commentator. The same site also ran results from a poll from WPA Intelligence claiming DeSantis matches up well with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican expected to run for governor next year. WPA Intelligence was a pollster for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in his campaign for the White House.

According to The Resurgent, which says it had "exclusive access" to the poll of more than 2,000 Republican Primary voters, Putnam is the choice of 17 percent, while DeSantis is next at 9 percent. The poll showed Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and State Sen. Jack Latvala at 3 percent each, according to The Resurgent report.

"While DeSantis may trail Putnam at this early date, with 52% of voters undecided and 51% not knowing who he is, this race is wide open," The Resurgent story declares.

The Times/Herald has not been able to verify the poll results.

DeSantis, 38, is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and has represented parts of northeast Florida in Congress since 2012. When U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio first announced he was going to run for President, DeSantis was quick to file to run for the U.S. Senate to replace him. When Rubio re-entered the race, DeSantis dropped out of the contest and instead won re-election to the U.S. House. During that short-lived campaign for Senate, the Madison Project and Ryun also endorsed DeSantis over a field of Republican candidates.

DeSantis is a member of the House Freedom Caucus.

April 13, 2017

Adam Putnam hosts BBQ for supporters in May

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@JeremySWallace

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican most expected to run for governor in 2018, is inviting his supporters to a BBQ in his hometown, just five days after the Legislature is expected to wrap up its annual spring session.

"We are having our Florida Grown Hometown BBQ on Wednesday, May 10th, and I wanted to make sure you got an invitation," Putnam said in a email blast sent to supporters.

Florida Grown is the name of a political committee Putnam opened in 2015 that has raised more than $10 million as of March 31, according to the Florida Division of Elections.

The event is in Bartow in Polk County at Old Polk County Courthouse.

April 12, 2017

Democrats file complaint against Putnam, alleging campaign finance violations

Adam Putnam APAgriculture Commission Adam Putnam’s decision not to disclose in detail how he uses the funds received by his political committee has drawn a complaint before the Florida Elections Commission.

The Democratic Governors Association, the partisan political organization determined to defeat Putnam when he announces a campaign for governor later this year, filed the complaint Wednesday accusing him of violating state law.

Citing a March 24 story in the Miami Herald, the complaint alleges that Putnam’s political committee, Florida Grown, gave $1.3 million in lump sum payments to the consulting firm run by his top political consultant, Justin Hollis, without detailing where the money goes in an alleged violation of a law that requires disclosure of individual expenditures when 80 percent of the costs are paid by the political committee.

“By only reporting the purpose of these expenditures as ‘consulting’ or ‘political consulting,’ Florida Grown PC is withholding relevant information that the Florida Election Code intends for political committees to disclose under Section 106.07(4)(a)(13),” wrote Elisabeth Pearson, executive director of Washington-based DGA.  Download FL Complaint_4.11 DGA Letterhead

“We request this commission immediately launch an investigation into these claims and take appropriate remedial action against Florida Grown PC,” she concluded in the three-page complaint. Story here. 

 

March 26, 2017

Adam Putnam and the political committee disclosure that fails to disclose

Adam Putnam APAgriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised more than $9.4 million for a 2018 governor’s race he has yet to announce and, in the last two years, spent $1.8 million of it on a Lakeland-based political consulting firm that has failed to disclose how the expenses were paid.

According to reports filed with the Florida Division of Elections, 70 percent of the $2.6 million spent by Putnam’s political committee, Florida Grown, went to Silloh Consulting, operated by Justin Hollis, the 36-year-old political consultant and real estate investor who manages Putnam’s political fund.

Nearly $1.3 million in lump sum payments went for the purpose of political consulting, according to the reports.

How much of that was used to compensate vendors, pollsters, fundraisers, advertisers, opposition researchers, media interests and others? His report doesn’t say, raising legal issues about whether the report is in compliance with state campaign finance law that requires all major expenditures to be reported, and federal tax law, which requires that political committees disclose the campaigns for which they are operating.

“The purpose of the law is: who gave it, who got it,” said Mike Cochran, who wrote much of the existing disclosure laws as the legal counsel at the Department of State’s Division of Elections in the 1990s and is now retired from state government. “If the expenditures are being made with the intent to not disclose, that would be something that is potentially a violation of the elections code.”

According to Division of Election records, Florida Grown paid Silloh Consulting more than $14,350 for advertising, $16,300 for event expenses and supplies, $1,488 for food and beverage, $4,300 for meals, phones and utilities. But $1.3 million, and more than 50 individual checks as much as $92,000, were written for “political consulting,” “consulting,” or “management consulting.”

Hollis defended the practice, saying it was not a story. He said it is not accurate to conclude that he is personally making as much as $75,000 a month for the funds received by his consulting firm but would not explain how the practice complies with Florida campaign finance law.

“Silloh Consulting is a Florida-based small business that consists of multiple individuals and offers a myriad of political consulting services, including fundraising, event planning, communications and outreach, among others,’’ he said in a statement.

Abby DuPree, the Florida Grown treasurer, and Richard Coates, the committee’s lawyer, declined requests for comment. Putnam is a Republican who is widely expected to announce his candidacy for governor later this year.

State election law requires any political committee to detail “the full name and address of each person to whom expenditures have been made by or on behalf of the committee or candidate within the reporting period” and specifies that the “primary purpose of an expenditure shall be that purpose ... that comprises 80 percent of such expenditure.” More here. 

Photo credit: Associated Press