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Adam Putnam fundraising numbers add to 2018 governor race speculation


Florida Agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam has ramped up his fundraising activities, amassing nearly $2 million for a political committee he controls just since March.

Putnam, frequently mentioned as a likely candidate for governor in 2018, reported raising more than $460,000 just in June alone. He now has raised $1.8 million total for a political action committee called Florida Grown.

His biggest donors since March have included Jupiter beer distributor J.J. Taylor Companies, Manatee County insurance company FCCI and Little River Plantation Holdings, a company with ties to Mike Fernandez, a major GOP fundraiser in Florida. Each gave Florida Grown $100,000 each since April. Another $100,000 combined came on the last day in May from U.S. Sugar Corporation and South Central Florida Express Inc, a rail line owned by U.S. Sugar.

Putnam’s largest contribution came from another political action committee he previously ran called the Sunshine State Leadership Project. That fund transferred nearly $400,000 to Putnam’s new committee on April 30.

Putnam’s money is coming in despite him facing term limits and being unable to seek re-election to the office he first won in 2010 and was re-elected to last year.

His fundraising is a big contrast to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, the two other cabinet members who are term limited. Bondi has raise no money in her Justice For All political fundraising committee. And Atwater has raised just $20,000 for his fund, called Government That Works for You.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott leads them all when it comes to fundraising. Scott has raised more than $2.9 million in 2015 so far, despite being unable to run for re-election. Like with Putnam, the fundraising has led to speculation that Scott is looking to run for another office. Some of his top donors have said Scott is considering running for the U.S. Senate in 2018 when his term as governor expires. Asked last month if he was interested in running for the Senate last month, Scott would not say, adding that he is focused on being governor.