Adam Putnam – Page 2 – Florida Politics

Shock poll has Ron DeSantis up 17 points over Adam Putnam

A new poll is challenging the conventional wisdom that Adam Putnam leads Ron DeSantis in the Republican gubernatorial primary, showing DeSantis with a 17-point lead.

Is this new poll a sign of a big change? Or a mere outlier?

The survey shows DeSantis earning 43 percent of support among Republican primary voters. Putnam pulls in 26 percent, with 25 percent undecided. No other Republican candidate earned more than two percent support.

The poll was conducted by Remingtion Research Group on behalf of the Tenth Amendment Project. Nearly 2,900 Republican primary voters were surveyed from July 2 to July 5, shortly after the candidates’ recent debate, which aired on Fox News. The margin of error given was 1.84%.

“The latest survey of Republican primary voters in Florida shows the race continues to be a two-man contest between Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam,” said Remington Research Group President Titus Bond.

“DeSantis has seen a dramatic increase in ballot share while Putnam’s support has been static.”

Remington’s track record is questionable, however. The group earns just a “C” rating from FiveThirtyEight’s comprehensive pollster ratings, putting them toward the bottom of the list.

Those ratings are formulated by judging the pollster’s methods, as well as its past predictions as compared to actual election results. A “C” rating calls into question Remington’s accuracy.

And indeed, a 17-point lead for DeSantis would fly in the face of other pollsters’ recent findings.

In fact, Remington’s findings are the inverse of two recent polls from last month, with surveys from both NBC News/Marist and the Florida Chamber of Commerce showing Putnam up 17 points instead.

A recent internal poll by the DeSantis campaign also showed him with a huge lead over Putnam. 47 percent backed DeSantis, 28 percent supported Putnam, and 25 percent were undecided.

The DeSantis campaign points to increased support by President Donald Trump, who has endorsed DeSantis, as well as a ramping up of their advertising as possible explanations for DeSantis pulling ahead. Internal polls, however, are notoriously faulty as well.

That’s not to say that the race hasn’t changed since previous outside polls were released, or that the debate performance of DeSantis may have changed some voters’ minds. But as of now, this poll appears to be an outlier when it comes to outside evaluations of the race.

Only time, and more polling, will tell if it’s a sign of something more.

Now, back to Florida

Expect more questions involving Florida-centric issues when the two Republicans running for governor meet again next month.

The lack of Sunshine State topics — from education and the future of citrus to offshore drilling — was a sore subject at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center after last week’s Fox News Republican gubernatorial debate between Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Congressman Ron DeSantis.

It also wasn’t missed by Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo, who expressed confidence that her party will retake the governor’s mansion after two decades based on what she heard during the debate at the Osceola County resort.

“This debate was a right-wing circus brought to you by Fox News and inspired by Donald Trump,” Rizzo said. “Before a nationwide audience, Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis made clear that they only have one message: Trump, Trump, Trump.”

The direction of questions was a choice of the moderators. But that focus on more national and international issues drew a reaction from Putnam, who after the debate made a point of noting how he tried to steer responses to the importance of knowledge of the state.

“I care more about the schools in Washington County than what’s going on in Washington, D.C. I care more about what’s going on in Ruskin, Florida, with congestion and infrastructure and the quality of our water, than I care about Russia,” was Putnam’s go-to line. “And I care more about the other St. Petersburg — St. Petersburg, Florida.”

His campaign kept up that theme as this week began.

“Adam Putnam ‘Florida’ mentions triple DeSantis in Fox News debate,” the campaign said in a news release Monday.

“During last week’s Fox News debate, Adam Putnam mentioned Florida 75 times in the one-hour debate versus Congressman DeSantis who only mentioned Florida 28 times,” the release began.

DeSantis, who represents a Northeast Florida district in Congress and grew up in Dunedin, did well in covering the cable channel’s issues before the national audience and in his post-event responses.

However, in an appearance Friday by himself at the state GOP’s “Sunshine Summit” — Putnam also had time on stage that day — DeSantis’ team showed it had monitored the reaction to the debate by coming equipped with a laundry list of how he cares for Florida.

“There were at a lot of issues that I wanted to get to last night that we didn’t,” DeSantis said.

Many overlap national issues, such as opposing “common core” education standards and calling for more classroom time spent studying principles in the U.S. Constitution. But DeSantis also said he would sign legislation to require that Florida businesses use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Employment Authorization Program, known as E-Verify, to determine if newly hired employees are undocumented immigrants.

That has been a red-meat issue for conservatives for more than a decade but has been opposed by farm and business groups who contend the federal program would make it more difficult to find workers.

DeSantis also tried to draw a contrast with Putnam in discussing support for coastal communities impacted by toxic algae blooms blamed on releases from Lake Okeechobee.

“We will clean up the water. We will restore the Everglades. And I don’t care what special interests say. I’m not going to do their bidding,” DeSantis said. “I’m going to stand with the fishermen and the boaters and the property owners that populate those great parts of our state. Adam obviously will not do that. He’s tied at the hip to the industry that is involved with destroying so much of what makes Florida great.”

Sugar farms in the Everglades Agricultural Area have been blamed for contributing to pollution in the lake.

Putnam and DeSantis are expected to debate one more time, an Aug. 8 event hosted by the Jacksonville University Public Policy Institute and WJXT Channel 4. In announcing the debate last month, WJXT Vice President and General Manager Bob Ellis noted the importance of “how each candidate views the important issues to our local community.”

Fracking appears to be out: group gets Ron DeSantis to voice support for ban

Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis became the seventh and final major gubernatorial candidate to say he supports a ban on oil and gas fracking in Florida when the activist group Food & Water Action pinned him down at a campaign event Monday.

Following DeSantis’ rally in Tampa Monday he shook hands with members of the crowd, and that’s when Food & Water Action volunteer Ginger Goepper asked him if he supports a ban on fracking in Florida.

“Yeah, yep, yeah,” DeSantis replies, as shown in a video the group released Tuesday afternoon.

Last month Goepper asked Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam if he opposed fracking. Putnam replied a bit more loquaciously, “We don’t need to be fracking in Florida. Our geology, our limestone, we do not need to be fracking in Florida for oil and gas. It is just not the right spot.”

Putnam’s campaign then confirmed that was his position. As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, DeSantis’ campaign had not yet confirmed his support for a fracking ban.

With the two leading Republican gubernatorial candidates apparently in opposition to fracking in Florida, the group declared victory, since all five major Democratic candidates for governor,  Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, Andrew Gillum, Chris King, and Jeff Greene, are on the record supporting a ban.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is an oil and gas extraction technique in which drillers inject high-pressure water and chemicals deep into the ground to fracture the rock and thereby provide the drillers better access to oil and gas reserves. It is not practiced in Florida but has been the topic of intense debate in the Florida Legislature and in local governments for several years. Last year Senate Bill 462, to ban fracking, made some advances but died in the Appropriations Committee. A similar bill in the House of Representatives died in infancy.

Opponents charge fracking risks contaminating groundwater, and they also charge it is the cause of unusual earthquakes hitting such states as Oklahoma and Ohio. The oil and gas industry disputes those risks and insist fracking is an effective and safe way to increase America’s domestic energy supplies.

The Food & Water Action Fund is an organization that is campaigning for the reduction of fossil fuel extraction and burning for energy in general, and against fracking in particular.

“As the self-proclaimed most conservative major candidate in the Florida Gubernatorial race, Congressman DeSantis’s stance against fracking displays the growing bipartisan support for protecting Florida from the risks of fracking and offshore drilling,” the group stated in a news release. “Congressman DeSantis is the last of the seven major gubernatorial candidates to now be on the public record as being against fracking in Florida. We now must ensure that whomever is elected as Florida’s next governor will live up to their campaign pledge and pass an executive order to ban fracking in our Sunshine State.”

Adam Putnam, Ron DeSantis going after each other by the numbers

By the numbers, the Republican gubernatorial primary may be scoring the themes of who knows Florida, and who Florida wants.

The campaigns for Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis have been throwing around numbers Monday.

Putnam’s campaign went first, putting out a graphic noting that their candidate mentioned Florida 75 times in last Thursday’s FOX News debate, while DeSantis did so just 34 times, and some of those were referencing Putnam’s “Florida First” campaign slogan.

Among the other numbers offerd by Putnam’s campaign: 155, the number of grassroots events Putnam has had in his never-ending Florida tour over the past 14 months, versus “?” for DeSantis, who only started hitting the road in recent weeks.

And 96: the percentage of Putnam’s donors who are in-state, versus DeSantis’s 58 percent, according to Putnam’s campaign.

It’s a theme Putnam has both earned and pushed hard, that he’s been intimate with Florida for a long time while DeSantis has campaigned mostly by TV until very recently.

“In addition to mentioning Florida nearly triple the amount of times than by the Congressman, Adam Putnam is also the leading candidate for the number of sheriff endorsements [45 to 0 by Putnam’s count,] number of grassroots events, and percent of in-state donors. Congressman Ron DeSantis, Putnam’s opponent who is trailing by 15 points in the official Fox News Channel poll released last week, is behind Putnam on each count,” Putnam’s campaign declared in a press release.

But here are some numbers DeSantis responded with Monday:

First, 800: the number of registered attendees at DeSantis’ rally in Fort Myers Monday morning. Then: 1,200: the number of attendees at his rally in Tampa Monday afternoon. And 800-1,000: the estimated attendance for a third event Monday, in Pensacola in the evening.

“Ron DeSantis is tuirning out thousands of suppoerters from Fort Myers to Pensacola who are excited about an Iraq veterana nd proven conservative endorsed by the president,” his campaign declared.

Adam Putnam, Ashley Moody top another Central Florida straw poll

A third straw poll in a week found solid support among Central Florida Republicans for Adam Putnam for Governor and Ashley Moody for Attorney General.

This poll was taken Saturday evening among 191 attendees of the Red White & Blue BBQ hosted by three Central Florida Republican women’s clubs: Republicans in Action, Orlando Republican Women Federation, and the Winter Park Republican Women Federation.

Agriculture Commissioner Putnam easily topped Republican gubernatorial primary rival U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis 125-40, with Bob White and Bruce Nathan each picking up a few votes.

Former Circuit Court Judge Moody beat state Rep. Frank White 115 to 41 among top Republican candidates for the AG’s job.

Those preferences and margins are consistent with the straw polls conducted last week by the Casselberry Chamber of Commerce and the Seminole Republican Executive Committee.

And as in those and all other polls, Gov. Rick Scott was the overwhelming pick for the U.S. Senate primary, 167-10 over Rocky de la Fuente.

There were a couple of distinct differences in the Republican women’s BBQ straw poll Saturday evening and the earlier two.

In the Republican women’s poll, state Sen. Denise Grimsley edged out state Rep. Matt Caldwell as the choice for the Republican Agriculture Commissioner nominee, 63-59. Mike McCalister picked up another 16 votes, and former state Rep. Baxter Troutman, 7. Caldwell solidly won the previous two straw polls.

State Rep. Mike Miller was the women’s solid choice to be the Republican nominee in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Miller picked up 129 votes to Scott Sturgill‘s 33 and Vennia Francois‘s 11. Sturgill had solidly won the previous two polls, which were taken entirely in Seminole County, where Sturgill lives. The women’s poll was of two women’s groups from Orange County, where Miller is from, and one from Seminole.

In two Flordia House of Representatives races that have Republican primaries, the Republican women strongly supported Orlando lawyer Mikaela Nix over Stockton Reeves for House District 47 [138-20;] and state Rep. Rene Plasencia over George Collins in House District 50 [99-34.]

The women’s groups also were polled on some nonpartisan races in Orange and Seminole counties and managed to pick the Republicans in each race that had at least one, while giving Democrats in those races little support.

The partisan primaries and nonpartisan elections are August 28.

In the Orange County mayoral race, Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke was the top choice with 89 votes, and businessman Rob Panepinto received 71. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, the only Democrat in the nonpartisan contest, got just nine votes.

And in the countywide Orange County School Board chair’s race, the attendees picked Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, with 77 votes, and gave almost no support to her chief rival, Orange County School Board Member Nancy Robbinson, who got 17 points. Jacobs is a Republican, Robbinson, a Democrat. Two minor candidates in that contest, teacher Robert Prater, and vocational school administrator Matt Fitzpatrick, both finished ahead of Robbinson, with 20 and 18 votes respectively.

In other contests, the groups preferred former state Rep. and former Orange County Commissioner Fred Brummer in the Orange County Commission District 2 race; Pete Crotty in Orange County Commission District 3; Gina Perez-Calhoun in Orange County Commission District 4; and Robin Harris in the Orange County Commission District 5 race.

Also interesting was the District 4 and 6 contests.

In District 4, Perez-Calhoun solidly topped another Republican, Susan Makowski, 72-23 [with another 33 votes split among three Democrats in the field,] even though Makowski, a former aide to incumbent Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, has raised almost ten times as much money as Perez-Calhoun.

In the District 6 race, the Republican women picked the progressive Democratic activist, Harris, over the far more moderate incumbent Democratic Orange County Commissioner Victoria Siplin, by a 66-37 vote. There are no Republicans in that contest.

In Seminole County Commission races, the attendees picked Jay Zembower in District 2, and Ray Lockhart in District 4.

In Orange County School Board races, the top choices were Angie Gallo in District 1; Chadwick Hardee in District 2; Linda Kobert in District 3; Patricia Fox in District 4; and Melissa Byrd in District 7.

In Seminole County School Board races, the top choices were Alan Youngblood [by one vote over Cade Resnick] in District 1, and Ray Penneck in District 4.

Sean Hannity, Ron DeSantis set three Florida campaign stops for July 2

Fox News host Sean Hannity, who was an early backer of DeSantis’ campaign to succeed term-limited Gov. Rick Scott, will be appearing alongside Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis on Monday at campaign events in Fort Myers, Tampa Bay and Pensacola.

In the morning from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Congressman DeSantis, a regular favorite guest for Fox News, will be with Hannity in Fort Myers at the Sanibel Harbour Marriot. In the afternoon from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the two will be at the Marriot Waterside Tampa.

Then the two will link up with Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz Monday evening for a rally in Pensacola. That event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. (CT) Monday at the New World Landing, 600 S Palafox St.

The two Congressmen, dubbed “absolute warriors” by President Donald Trump, have held several joint events this month. The two Congressmen tackled a doubleheader June 6 with rallies in Pensacola and Valparaiso, and then handled three in one day last weekend with stops in Ponte Vedra, Lake City and Ocala. Now they’re back again, but this time they’ll also be in the company of Hannity.

DeSantis faces Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Republican primary, and at this stage of the race, Putnam is the clear front-runner.

A survey released by the Florida Chamber of Commerce a couple of weeks ago showed Putnam with a 32-15 lead among primary voters, and for those who weren’t convinced by that poll due to the Florida Chamber’s support of Putnam, an NBC News poll released earlier this week showed him with a similar lead.

Still, there’s plenty of undecideds on the board, and if DeSantis’ Ponte Vedra rally is any indication, he’ll continue ramping up his rhetoric against Putnam as his campaign gets into full swing.

Though DeSantis political future — the next couple years of it, at least — is staked on the outcome of the Aug. 28 primary, Gaetz is relatively safe.

He faces two challengers in the Republican primary for Florida’s 1st Congressional District and neither can hold a candle to him when it comes to fundraising or the amount of screen time he’s been able to grab on 24-hour news networks over the course of his first term.

One of the Democrats challenging him, Phillip Ehr, has broken the six-figure mark in fundraising, but CD 1 is among the most blue-wave-proof districts in the land — it voted 68-28 in favor of Trump two years ago.

Adam Putnam, Ron DeSantis will skip Florida Press Association debate

An organization representing most of the state’s media outlets sought to vet the top two Republican candidates for governor in an early August debate. But on Friday, it became clear that Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Congressman Ron DeSantis plan to play hookey instead.

“The Republican Party of Florida recently notified the debate project that its candidates for Governor will only participate in two debates – neither of which is “The Race for Governor,” reads a Friday news release from the Florida Press Association.

The group planned to host DeSantis and Putnam August 1 at the WPBF 25 studio, an ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach. The debate would’ve been televised in the 10 major media markets peppered across the state. 

It’s not clear why the two candidates have chosen only to participate in two debates leading up to the August 28 primary, nor why the Florida Press Association’s debate didn’t make the cut.

But the news comes after the two GOP gubernatorial options went toe-to-toe in a Fox News debate Thursday evening, and a closer examination of that debate’s discourse could lead some to make inferences that being against the media is the flavor of the election cycle for DeSantis and Putnam. Both candidates made a point of blaming the media for “incivility” during Thursday night’s dialogue.

“[Donald] Trump has almost the entire media against him. Fake news, day after day after day. He’s got the entire Democratic Party after him. He’s got the lobbyists after him. He’s got the bureaucracy after him. And he’s got some Republicans who’ve come after him to kneecap him,” DeSantis said during Thursday night’s debate.

“This method of incivility did not begin with President Trump,” Putnam concurred later. “It’s only reported by the left-wing media because they want to undermine our president and the conservative movement.”

It follows from these statements that the two candidates opt out of a media-backed debate just a day later.

The Florida Press Association still plans to host a Democratic gubernatorial debate at 7 p.m. on August 2 in the aforementioned West Palm Beach studio.

Ron DeSantis goes after Adam Putnam

As if sensing he drew blood in Thursday night’s debate, Republican gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis went after his rival Adam Putnam with full force Friday, accusing him of cronyism, fiscal irresponsibility, voting with Democrats, and not telling the truth about comments about Donald Trump.

DeSantis spent most of his speech Friday at the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit contrasting him with Florida’s Republican agriculture commissioner, most of it in full attack mode.

“We have a very good sharp contrast between our two candidates for governor,” DeSantis said.

He also continued to tout his Trump credentials, starting his speech by reminding everyone he spent Thursday morning in a Congressional hearing trying to “expose the anti-Trump bias in the FBI and DOJ,” and finishing his speech by quoting Trump’s endorsement of his gubernatorial run.

DeSantis also repeated the charge he made in the debate that Putnam not only did not support Trump’s election campaign, but called Trump “vile” and “obscene” at one point.

“Own it and apologize and move on. Instead he said that he never said that,” DeSantis recalled from the debate. “It’s been well-documented that he did.”

He then suggested that when Putnam says he’s putting Florida first, he’s really putting special interests first, “the insiders in Tallahassee, who really want you to do your bidding.”

It was a theme DeSantis returned to a couple of times.

He declared that Putnam fought against requiring employers to use E-Verify to background check employees, and voted in Congress against allowing American military troops to defend the southern border because of his relationship with what DeSantis called “the Cheap-Labor Wing of the Republican Party.”

And DeSantis went after the sugar industry – though not explicitly mentioning it – and charged that Adam would not cross the industry in any effort to clean up the Everglades or stop toxic algae discharges.

It was just about the only time that DeSantis took on a uniquely-Florida issue in any depth, rather than applying federal issues to Florida politics, as he did in almost all his other comments Friday and Thursday night in the debate.

“I can tell you this, if we want to win the governor’s race in 2018, we’ve got to be able to go to the citizens of the Treasure Coast, we’ve got to be able to go to Southwest Florida, and we’ve got to be able to say like I can: ‘If you elect me governor, I will do something about these toxic discharges. We will clean up the water. And we will restore the Everglades,'” DeSantis said.

“And I don’t care what the special interests say, I’m not going to do their bidding,” he continued. “I’m going to stand with the fishermen and the boaters and the property owners that populate those great parts of our state.

“Adam obviously will not do that,” he continued. “He’s tied at the hip with the industry who’s involved with destroying so much of what makes Florida so great.”

DeSantis made a few other limited attempts  to talk about Florida issues, largely ignored in Thursday’s debate, but couldn’t quite get away from issues that are national red-meat for conservatives.

For example, he talked about the need for education reform and reduced testing, but said it was because he was opposed to Common Core and saw Florida’s tests as a part of that federal mandate. He also spoke of wanting to require in-depth teaching of the U.S. Constitution.

Then DeSantis turned to fiscal issues. But rather than mention anything involving the Florida budget, DeSantis went after Putnam for more of his congressional votes, notably for bailouts of banks and car companies, while noting his own high marks in Congress for protecting taxpayers.

Adam Putnam warns against ‘the left taking over our state’

Adam Putnam returned to his “Florida First” agenda at the Republicans’ Sunshine Summit Friday pressing for a state that “innovates things, grows things, manufactures things” and vocational education to support it.

The day after the Sunshine Summit hosted the FOX News Florida Republican gubernatorial debate that almost entirely focused on national issues, Putnam almost never mentioned the debate or his opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, at least not by name. However, he did find the need to re-state what had become the dominant message of Thursday night’s debate: full support for President Donald Trump.

Yet instead of contrasting with DeSantis, Putnam instead went after Democrats, as if looking beyond the August 28 Republican gubernatorial primary.

“The left is dedicated to taking over our state,” Putnam warned.

“It is for one reason and one reason only: they are focused solely on defeating our president when he runs for re-election in 2020 and we can’t let that happen,” Putnam continued. “Don’t give them back the mansion. Don’t give them the Legislature. Let us keep the cabinet and let us keep the good times rolling for the state of Florida.”

In his speech Friday at the Republican Party of Florida’s summit at the Gaylord Palms Hotel, Putnam briefly made an exception, going after DeSantis, not by name, but by reputation, as someone who doesn’t spend much time in Florida and doesn’t know Florida issues.

“We need a governor who knows our state; knows every corner of our state from Perdido Key to the Dry Tortugas;who doesn’t need a map or GPS to get around; who knows our schools, the difference between a school district like Hamilton County, which has only two schools in the whole county, and some of the biggest districts in the country,” Putnam said.

Putnam pushed his plan to reintroduce vocational education into middle schools and high school to prepare skilled graduates, who can get higher-paying jobs.

He credited Florida’s low crime rate, at a 37-year low he said, to minimum sentencing, protection of Second Amendment rights, and “plenty of room in the prison system to keep evil people behind bars.”

Beyond that, Putnam made it clear the big challenge was staving off Democrats’ most extreme ideas, such as making Florida a sanctuary state, raising taxes.

“That is not a direction Florida wants to go. But folks, complacency is not an option,” he said.

And he warned against the potential for Democrats with California billionaire Tom Steyer’s announcement that he would donate $1 million to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum‘s Democratic gubernatorial effort, joining  the $500,000 provided by New York billionaire George Soros.

“That’s what’s at stake,” Putnam said.

Adam Putnam doubled Ron DeSantis in June fundraising

Through the first three weeks of June, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam raised nearly double the money of gubernatorial primary opponent U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

From June 1 through June 22, Putnam raked in almost $2.1 million — $1.8 million through his political committee, Florida Grown, and another $283,000 through his official campaign account.

DeSantis’ total came in at $1.12 million, including $821,000 in contributions to Friends of Ron DeSantis and another $298,000 in campaign dollars.

The new reports add to Putnam’s immense lead in the money race as the two Republicans barrel toward the Aug. 28 Republican primary that will decide which of them will be on the November ballot.

To date, Putnam has raised $32.7 million for his gubernatorial bid compared to about $12 million for DeSantis, whose total was buoyed last month by a $1.1 million transfer from his now-defunct congressional re-election fund.

The new campaign finance reports are the first since the qualifying period for state races ended. From now through Nov. 6, candidates are required to file a report every week.

The two Republicans squared off Thursday night in their first debate, which focused more on national issues than those affecting Florida.

Still, both candidates were able to tout their support among different factions of the Republican party. DeSantis has locked up the support of President Donald Trump, while Putnam met criticisms that he was “weak” on border and immigration issues by reminding his opponent of his substantial support among county sheriffs and police.

The race isn’t the only facet of the contest where Putnam has doubled DeSantis. Most recent polls show the second-term Agriculture Commissioner with two-to-one lead among Republican primary voters.

The winner of the GOP nom will go on to face one of the five Democratic candidates looking to take back the Governor’s Mansion after 20 years of Republican rule.

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