U.S. Sugar Corporation officials are leaving little doubt that they support Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican most expect to run for governor in 2018.
U.S. Sugar and a railroad the company runs called South Central Florida Express, Inc. sent $200,000 in donations in late February to a political committee that Putnam runs called Florida Grown. U.S. Sugar has now given Florida Grown $465,000 since 2015, making it among the top 5 givers to Putnam’s committee.
His top donor is The Voice of Florida Business, a political action committee run by Associated Industries of Florida. They have given $605,000. That doesn’t count $525,000 that AIF has given Putnam’s committee through another committee called Associated Industries of Florida PAC. Yet another committee with ties to AIF called Floridians for a Stronger Democracy gave $150,000 to Putnam’s committee since 2015. Each of those AIF PACs get lots of support from the sugar industries. Since the start of 2016 those three PACs have raised a total of $4.2 million. But nearly $1.3 million of that comes from donations by U.S. Sugar, based in Clewiston, and Florida Crystals, a sugar producer based in Palm Beach County.
Since the start of February, Florida Grown has raised over $2 million, and since it was created in early 2015 it has raised over $9 million. Putnam has not announced if he is running for governor yet in 2018, when Gov. Rick Scott will not be able to seek re-election.
Here are the top donors to Putnam’s Florida Grown PC:
$605,000 - The Voice of Florida Business
$587,060 - Florida Power & Light
$550,000 - Florida Jobs PAC, a committee run by the Florida Chamber of Commerce
$525,000 - Associated Industries of Florida PAC $465,000 - U.S. Sugar Corporation and South Central Florida Express Inc.
$385,647 - Disney World Wide Services and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
$200,000 - Florida Chamber of Commerce
$160,000 - Publix
$160,000 - Florida Retail Federation PAC
$150,746 - Florida Phosphate Political Committee
(Source Florida Division of Elections)
Meanwhile On Wednesday, Putnam delivered a speech at the Florida Capitol Complex stressing the importance of farming in Florida and reminding people about the challenges the industry has faced in the last year with crop killing diseases and pests.
Check out what Putnam had to say here: