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Emails & Opinions

It ain’t easy, but Adam Putnam deserves credit for standing up for the swamp

Nowadays, everyone wants to drain the swamp.

The president is supposed to be draining the swamp in Washington, D.C.

Candidates for Florida governor are vowing to drain the swamp in Tallahassee.

Even the teachers union is getting into the act. A 30-second video out this week, titled, yes, “Drain the Swamp,” attacks the Florida House’s massive omnibus education bill.

Of course, no one wants to defend the swamp, although that’s what the Florida Democratic Party is accusing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of doing.

During an appearance at the Panhandle Tiger Bay Club last Wednesday, Putnam—a Republican candidate for governor—was asked where he thought the Republican-controlled state capital was broken and what he would do to clean up the “filth” in Tallahassee.

“It’s not broken. And I’ve talked about the good things that we’re doing,” Putnam told the questioner.

Needless to say, the FDP is jumping on Putnam’s comments.

“For years, Adam Putnam has been one of the most biggest alligators in the Tallahassee swamp,” said FDP spokesman Kevin Donohoe. “It makes sense that he is planning to run as the embodiment of decades of a failed one-party Republican rule.

“Unfortunately for Putnam, Floridians in both parties want their next governor to be someone who will take on the Tallahassee establishment and fight for Florida’s working families. Floridians want change, not a Tallahassee swamp monster, as their next governor.”

But good on Putnam for sticking up for the swamp. Seriously.

What the FDP doesn’t get is that Florida voters are mostly content with the status quo in Tallahassee.

You won’t read that in the editorial pages of most state newspapers, but consider:

 Governor Rick Scott’s job approval rating is at 58 percent.

— Not one Republican incumbent in the Florida House lost their re-election campaign in 2016.

Don’t get me wrong. Tallahassee has its problems. The sexual harassment scandals which have plagued the capital the past four months has damaged the reputation of the Legislature.

And President Trump will probably be a weight around the necks of many Republicans running in 2018. We’ve already seen the Democrats win an important special election for a state Senate seat because of dissatisfaction, if not disgust, with the president.

But if you buy into the argument that Tallahassee is broken, well, I’ve got some swampland to sell you.

As for Putnam — indeed one of the biggest alligators in Tallahassee — he’s right that many, many good things are being done.

The Commish deserves credit for standing up for the place.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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