Adam Putnam – Page 4 – Florida Politics
Ashey Moody

Grady Judd gives thumbs up to Ashley Moody for AG

Polk County Sheriff  Grady Judd is endorsing former Circuit Judge Ashley Moody for Attorney General.

Judd made the announcement at an early Tuesday morning news conference in Bartow.

Moody campaign says now there are 40 Florida sheriffs have now endorsed her for the office.

“For more than forty-five years, Grady Judd has served the citizens of Polk County and sought to keep them safe,” Moody said in a statement. “As Sheriff, he has implemented innovative approaches and programs to deal with evolving threats from human trafficking to the opioid epidemic. I am honored to add his support and his voice to my campaign.”

On Monday, Judd also endorsed Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (also a Polk County native) in his gubernatorial campaign, and the Sheriff was prominently featured in a new 30-second Putnam ad on immigration. The ad was produced by Putnam’s political committee, Florida Grown.

Moody, who once served the 13th Judicial Circuit Court, is running for the Republican nomination for Attorney General against state Reps. Frank White and Jay Fant.

Also in the race are Democrats Ryan Torrens and state Rep. Sean Shaw of Tampa.

Democrats play nicer in Freedom Forum debate

Four leading Democratic candidates actively running for Governor stopped taking shots at each other Monday night, instead saving their punches for Republican leadership, mainly on how they spend money from the Florida Lottery, affordable housing fund and land conservation fund.

During the third 2018 Democratic gubernatorial debate, a two-hour forum Monday at the Miramar Cultural Center, Philip Levine, Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum, and Chris King showed mostly unity as they went over the familiar ground on guns, affordable housing, marijuana legalization, education, the environment, and criminal justice reform.

They also got chances to discuss other topics — abortion, senior care, union support, and sanctuary cities — again, mostly in agreement (at least in broad terms, if not in details) of their plans.

For example, they all pledged to veto laws that would limit abortion; each supports a woman’s right to choose. In perhaps the only moment of light comedy, King described how his daughter had inspired him to declare, “Girl Power!”

Graham lifted her arms and bowed, saying: “I agree on the ‘girl power!'”

There were a few exceptions on the unity. Graham is the one candidate not committing to seeking legalization of marijuana. Levine opposes corporate tax hikes. King made it clear that he believes environmental improvements can only be addressed after eliminating the sugar industry’s influence.

The debate also was nearly entirely free of the explicit attacks launched back and forth in the first two, taking on Graham for her congressional record, Levine for his past political support, or Gillum for troubles in Tallahassee.

Gillum tried once early on, reminding the audience, without being specific, that someone on stage gave money to a Republican who sought to cut Planned Parenthood. Chris King declared it wasn’t him, and he and Gillum shared a bromance handshake. But Levine — they were talking about Levine — shook it off, decking a rebuttal, at that moment redirecting the debate away from Democrat-on-Democrat attacks. Each candidate was allowed only two rebuttals, but that turned out to be more than they needed over two hours and dozens of questions.

Perhaps the most swarming came as several questions led the quartet to discuss, and mostly agree upon, what to do with the Florida Forever Fund, intended for the purchase of conservation lands; The Sadowski Trust Fund, dedicated to promoting the development of affordable housing; and the Florida Lottery, which was set up to support public schools.

Each of the candidates pledged to end the transfers — Democrats call them raids — of money from those funds to other budgetary needs.

“In business, we call that embezzlement,” Levine said.

“To me, this is the issue that most inspired me to run for governor,” said King, whose companies build affordable housing.

“We ought to have citizens to get their own lawsuits to sue the state of Florida for not living up to its promise,” Gillum said. “That money was determined for this express purpose.”

There were no new policy announcements, and the candidates tried again to define themselves with themes.

King, the entrepreneur, declared all of his ideas to be big and bold. Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, pushed again the notion that he intends to represent the people who’ve not had a voice in Tallahassee. Levine reminded people repeatedly that he is the candidate who had taken on progressive changes, as mayor of Miami Beach.

Graham, the former congresswoman who more often defines herself as a one-time PTA mom, attempted a more soulful message.

“The soul of our country is under attack by Donald Trump. The soul of our state has been crushed by 20 years of one-party Republican rule in Tallahassee,” Graham said. “I am running to make sure that the soul of Florida is restored to the people of Florida.”

The four also took the chance to reiterate the anger they each had expressed Friday at the news that one of the leading Republicans running for Governor, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, had overseen a concealed weapons program that failed for more than a year to use a key federal database to do background checks on applicants. Putnam blamed a clerk: after discovering her practice, he said they rechecked all the appropriate permits.

The issue did not come up during the second debate, just two nights ago in Pinellas Park.

On Monday the four Democrats were not only unswayed by Putnam’s explanations, but they also accused him, variously, of a list of transgressions: throwing the clerk under the bus, not following the law, or bragging about how easy he had made it for people to obtain concealed weapons permits.

“Adam Putnam should resign, should resign immediately,” Graham stated flatly, renewing the call she first made Friday afternoon. “What happened in the state of Florida was under his watch. And so he is responsible for all the concealed weapons permits that were issued under his watch.”

Polk Sheriff Grady Judd endorses Adam Putnam in new illegal immigration ad

Floridians won’t hear Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam speak in his latest television ad.

Instead, they’ll hear testimony and a de-facto endorsement from Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who delivers a 30-second spiel on the need to deport “illegal immigrants” to keep communities safe and promises Putnam, who’s running for Governor, will help law enforcement do so, if elected.

The ad, which will begin airing across the state Tuesday, opens with Judd saying, “I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to keeping Florida families safe and I know Adam Putnam has our back.”

The focus of the ad then turns to illegal immigration — particularly in cases when immigrants who are not citizens are convicted of a crime.

“Adam believes we have the responsibility to keep our borders, cities and neighborhoods safe and secure,” Judd continues. “He’ll make sure that illegal immigrants who commit crimes will be held accountable and deported — not released back into our communities.”

Judd closes with: “Adam Putnam will stand with law enforcement and enforce the rule of law.”

It evokes memories of Republican state House Speaker Richard Corcoran‘s January ad cut by his Watchdog PAC, which focused on the issue of sanctuary cities, or the concept that local authorities could, in theory, refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials, effectively creating a ‘sanctuary’ for immigrants who are not citizens.

But there are stark differences between the Speaker’s television venture and Putnam’s latest. Corcoran’s ad depicted the killing of a woman in California by an undocumented immigrant, whereas Putnam’s features only him and Judd, and avoids the term ‘sanctuary city’ altogether.

Corcoran, then widely expected to enter the Governor’s race after the 2018 Legislative Session, aired the ad after the House quickly passed a bill banning sanctuary cities in the state. He decided in May to stay out of the race and subsequently endorse Putnam.

For Putnam, messaging on immigration through television marks an investment in a strategy that tracks to the right as he competes against U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis for the Republican nomination. DeSantis has the backing of Donald Trump, and is frequently on Fox News defending the President.

The ad also is a working endorsement of Putnam from Sheriff Judd, who is influential in Republican circles and known well beyond the borders of Polk County (where Putnam is originally from). Judd helped lead a series of workshops called by Gov. Rick Scott immediately after the Parkland shooting. He is a staunch advocate for arming teachers and championed what eventually became the Guardian Program. He is one of Corcoran’s appointees to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission.

The ad also could act as quick damage control for a story published last week that undoubtedly called Putnam’s leadership into question. Although, a poll that coincided with that story still reflected strong support for the Agriculture Commissioner.

Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam crosses $30M in ‘actual’ fundraising

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is still the champ when it comes to fundraising.

In a Monday email, Putnam’s gubernatorial campaign said it and an affiliated political committee brought in more than $1.73 million in “actual contributions” last month.

“In May, Team Putnam surpassed more than $30 million in contributions from supporters to date. Unlike our opponent, our total doesn’t include transfers and fuzzy math. This significant milestone symbolizes both the financial and grassroots momentum behind Adam Putnam as Florida’s candidate for governor,” said campaign spokesperson Meredith Beatrice.

That jab was aimed at Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is running against Putnam in the Republican primary for Governor.

Last week, DeSantis announced that his campaign and committee accounts “took in more than $3 million” in May. While technically true, more than $1 million of those funds was old money came transferred in from Ron DeSantis for Florida, the principal campaign committee for his now-defunct re-election bid for Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

Putnam’s May reports contain no such surprises — the campaign said it will show $441,674 in contributions in its report, while the already viewable report for the Florida Grown committee shows nearly $1.29 million raised, none of it from transfers.

The committee effort netted four six-figure checks, including $250,000 from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, $200,000 from a committee tied to the Associated Industries of Florida, and $100,000 apiece from the Florida Retail Federation and an Arcadia-based land management company.

To date, Putnam has raised $30.61 million between the two accounts. That’s nearly triple the $10.8 million DeSantis has raised or transferred in.

When it comes to cash on hand, Florida Grown finished May with nearly $11.7 million on hand. The new campaign report is not yet viewable on the Florida Division of Elections website, though it had more than $4 million banked on April 30

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Water policy key for next Agriculture Commissioner

Maintaining Florida’s water supply, while balancing the growing needs of residents, farmers, tourists and businesses, is a priority for the candidates seeking to replace Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

The issue involves helping preserve diverse ecosystems, such as the Everglades and natural springs, without scuttling the economy. Candidates for Agriculture Commissioner are putting forward a variety of ideas, from continuing to educate residents on the need to conserve water to increasing the use of recycled or reclaimed water and limiting rural development.

Republican candidate Matt Caldwell, a state House member from North Fort Myers, carried a 2016 House water bill that laid out policy goals for every region in the state and has been heavily involved in issues dealing with the Florida Forever land- preservation program. He pointed to a need for a partnership between water management districts and local governments “to construct and operate regional water supply facilities, including reservoirs, desalination, and re-use facilities.”

Another GOP candidate, state Sen. Denise Grimsley of Sebring, echoes many other Florida Republicans in favoring the state, rather than the federal government, determining water-resource allocations.

Grimsley also wants to expand on a South Florida Water Management District program that partners with private landowners to store water and expand the use of “conservation easements” through the state’s Rural & Family Lands Protection Program. Conservation easements keep land, often near water sources, from being developed while farmers and ranchers continue their operations. Putnam, who faces term limits this year and is running for Governor, has made a priority of the Rural & Family Lands Protection Program.

“We have to preserve farm and ranch lands, which serve as critical recharge areas for our vast aquifer,” Grimsley said. “This means capturing water, not letting it go to waste.”

Republican candidate Baxter Troutman, a former state House member from Winter Haven, talked of a need to balance water usage and conservation, from “incorporating water usage when planning for future development” to using “reclaimed water for residential irrigation.”

“I am very interested in ‘best practice’ water management techniques and have implemented many of these in my own operation,” Troutman said. “I believe that widespread adoption of water management practices throughout the ag industry can have an immediate and long-term impact on both the quality and quantity of water available for all Floridians.”

Mike McCalister, a Republican businessman from Plant City, expressed a need to get government agencies involved with water policy linked in the same system.

“We must all work together in this critical and finite resource,” McCalister said.

On the Democratic side, Homestead Mayor Jeff Porter talked of pushing the federal government for more Everglades funding and expanding statewide what he’s learned with a water treatment plant in Homestead.

“This experience will be invaluable when addressing our state’s water needs,” Porter said. “Other candidates can talk about what they would do … my campaign is discussing what I have done.”

Both he and fellow Democratic candidate David Walker, a biological scientist from Fort Lauderdale, talked of a need for more conservation, with the emphasis on educating Floridians.

“Because 50 percent of water consumption is through irrigation, we need to limit the amount of watering to no more than twice a week and avoid irrigation when it rains,” Walker said. “We need to use reclaimed water when possible and plant native plants that are drought tolerant and need less irrigation. In addition, we need to use energy efficient appliances and only run the dishwasher when it is full.”

Asked to balance the demands of the state, Walker, who favors concentrating development in already-existing urban areas that “tend to have less lawn for watering and will have less water consumption,” said he’d want farmers to enroll in “agricultural best management practices,” which “apply cost-effective actions to conserve water and reduce the amount of pesticides, fertilizers, animal waste and other pollutants entering our water resources.”

Walker also favors expanding a reservoir that state lawmakers approved in 2017 to help redirect water south from Lake Okeechobee into the Everglades by repurchasing “at least a significant portion of land from the Everglades Agricultural Area.”

Porter indicated he would put residents first when it comes to drinking water, followed by farmers before businesses and tourists.

“Our elderly and children drink, bathe, and cook with the water our elected officials provide to them,” Porter said. “We can’t have another Flint, Mich., catastrophe where they changed water sources for financial reasons.”

McCalister, a retired Army National Guard and Reserves colonel, noted the Department of Environmental Protection under the governor is the “lead agency” on water, air and land issues. Yet he also talked of a need for “improved and more effective cooperation and ‘interoperability’ between all government agencies dealing with Florida’s water policy, issues and concerns.”

“Managing and protecting Florida’s water resources will require great cooperation, commitment and effort of all stakeholders to include government agencies, agricultural and industry participants and the public,” he said.

Supporting conservation education, best practices for farmers and a need to tie development to future impacts, Troutman said “any comprehensive water policy must address environmental concerns.”

“Our quality of life is directly tied to our environment. Florida is blessed with many natural wonders; from our beautiful springs, our forests, our amazing lakes and rivers, our beaches, and the Everglades,” Troutman said. “If we take care of our natural water systems, our urban cores will also benefit.”

Caldwell said the balance lawmakers must address is prioritizing the water needs while respecting constitutionally protected property rights.

“Building regional water supply facilities for urban use will relieve the pressure on the aquifer and surface water supplies, which are more than adequate to meet the need of rural and natural Florida,” Caldwell said.

Besides pushing for more money for the Rural and Family Lands Protection program, Grimsley said the state needs to “aggressively” use money voters directed in 2014 for land and water preservation for water-quality improvement projects.

Grimsley also said she’d appoint a deputy commissioner focused on water policy.

“Our water supply challenges are nonpartisan and demand full time attention,” Grimsley said. “It is imperative FDACS (the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services) continues to have a ‘seat at the table’ locally, regionally and statewide to ensure our water policy decisions are based on science and account for new crops, industries, and future demand on our water resources.”

Calling it ‘political attack,’ NRA (wo)mansplains weapons permit snafu

File this under womansplaining.

Florida’s most influential gun advocate is countering reports that hundreds of people may have mistakenly received the state’s concealed weapons permits without proper background checks.

“The media isn’t getting it right, and anti-gun Democrats don’t want to get it right,” says Unified Sportsmen of Florida Executive Director Marion Hammer, a past president of the National Rifle Association and among the most powerful lobbyists in the state.

In an email Saturday to supporters, Hammer declares: “For some, it’s all about attacking a candidate for political reasons.”

The candidate in question: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is now running for Governor and proclaimed last year to be a “proud NRA sellout.”

As reported Friday by the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS) — the agency led by Putnam — failed to conduct complete criminal background checks on concealed weapons permit applicants.

The Times’ report also accuses the Bartow Republican of hiding the snafu for nearly a year.

In February 2016, an Office of Inspector General investigation found a “negligent” employee — later fired — admitted that because she wasn’t able to log in to the FBI database, 291 permits were improperly licensed. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is required to screen potential applicants for any disqualifying history in other states.

After a subsequent review, the Division revoked the licenses in question.

On Saturday, Putnam contacted the Times, saying the story was “flat wrong and misleading.” He noted that proper background checks were performed on all 349,923 permit applicants during the 12-month period.

The agency later identified 365 applications the employee oversaw as “problematic.”

Nevertheless, several Democrats — including Putnam’s opponents in the governor’s race — have called for his resignation from both his job and the Governor’s race. A few Republicans also criticized Putnam, including Gov. Rick Scott, whose office said it was “blindsided” by the news.

Enter Hammer, who is now attempting to set the record straight. The National Rifle Association has been a staunch supporter of Putnam in the past, and through his gubernatorial campaign.

“This issue is extremely important to all firearms owners and license holders,” Hammer says in the email. “Truth and facts matter. So here is what really happened.”

According to Hammer, the Division of Licensing under DOACS did perform background checks on applicants for licenses to carry concealed weapons or firearms.

“Background checks were done through FCIC (Florida Criminal Information Computer system) and NCIC (National Criminal Information Computer system — the national FBI fingerprint database) and they also did a NICS check, which is the name-based background check system,” she says.

Retail firearms dealers use the NICS system for background checks anytime a person buys a firearm.

And, as emphasis, Hammer proclaims — ALL THREE BACKGROUND CHECKS WERE DONE.

“The employee should have uploaded those 365 [questionable applications] into the internal computer system to stop the processing of those applications,” Hammer says. “She did not. So those 365 applicants got their licenses anyhow.”

Although those applicants did indeed receive licenses to carry firearms, Hammer makes an important distinction: “They still would not have been allowed to purchase a firearm from a firearms dealer because the same NICS background check would have been performed by a dealer and would have stopped them from purchasing a firearm.”

“A license to carry does not exempt a person from the background check required when you purchase a firearm,” she says. “The license ONLY exempts a license holder from the three-day waiting period.”

After the Division ran new background checks on those 365 applicants, Hammer says 74 were cleared and 291 still had disqualifiers. Their licenses to carry firearms were immediately suspended.

Hammer closes with something of a reaffirmation of her support: “The facts don’t fit narrative being pushed by the anti-gun political opponents of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, who is a candidate for Governor.”

Adam Putnam sheds light on report of missed background checks

After a newspaper report published Friday revealed that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for more than a yearlong period stopped using a federal background check database in its concealed carry permits approval process, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam released a statement explaining his department took key steps to correct the issue once it was discovered, and that only a few hundred approved permits doled out during the gap would’ve actually required the use of the federal database.

The report, published by the Tampa Bay Times, details an Office of Inspector General investigation into the Department of Agriculture that found the Department did not use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, for a period lasting February 2016 through March 2017. The NICS database is used to make sure concealed carry permit applicants do not have a disqualifying history in other states.

Aaron Keller, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, told the Times that the database is used to check for non-criminal disqualifications. He also said that during the gap period the Department continued use of two other background check tools: the Florida Crime Information Center database and the National Crime Information Center database.

The Times reports, “From July 2016 through June 2017, which covers most of the period when the system wasn’t accessed, 268,000 applications were approved and 6,470 were denied for reasons like an incomplete application or the state discovered they were ineligible, according to the state Agriculture Department’s annual concealed weapons permit report.”

But in a prepared statement, Commissioner Putnam said that only 365 applications during the gap would’ve required use of the NICS. And when the Office of Inspector General provided the results of its investigation to the Department, his office immediately backtracked and reviewed the 365 applications.

“Upon discovery of this former employee’s negligence in not conducting the further review required on 365 applications, we immediately completed full background checks on those 365 applications, which resulted in 291 revocations,” Putnam said. 

He emphasized Keller’s initial statement as well.

“To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application,” Putnam said. 

The Office of Inspector General concluded that one employee, Lisa Wilde, was negligent. The Times reports that Wilde could not log in to the federal check system and ultimately stopped using it. Keller told the Times that Wilde was fired immediately after the Inspector General’s Office concluded she had been negligent.

Added Putnam on Friday: The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again.”

As for the National Rifle Association, a longtime Putnam supporter and advocate for gun safety, Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer decried the lack of proper vetting.

“I’m almost speechless. Anyone would assume that checks and balances were in place so that something like this couldn’t happen,” Hammer told POLITICO Florida. “I imagine Commissioner Putnam is furious, I would be. Although the agency’s comments indicate they reacted quickly to correct this disastrous failing, it certainly leaves us with a bad feeling.”

With more than 1.8 million concealed weapons permit holders in Florida, nearly 268,000 applications were approved and 6,470 were rejected during the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2017. That was the period when background checks were not conducted.

According to POLITICO, this was the second time background checks were at issue in issuing permits. for a time, one in five mental health records were entered late into the background check database, a longrunning problem that could have resulted in people with known mental illness able to purchase a gun.

As the Florida Department of Law Enforcement explained: “The risk of late reporting of mental health records is that an individual who is prohibited from purchasing or possession [of] a firearm may be approved at the time of the background check if the disqualifying mental health record is not available.”

Democrats call for Adam Putnam to drop out, resign after report of missed background checks

A Tampa Bay Times investigation into an apparent yearlong lapse in national background checks for Florida concealed weapons permits has started a wave of Democrats calling for Republican Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam to drop out of the Governor’s race or resign.

They were responding to a new report from the Times “Buzz blog” Friday afternoon that said Putnam’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs failed for more than a year to run national background checks on people applying for Florida concealed weapons permits.

The lapse may have resulted in unknown numbers of permits issued to people not qualified to carry guns in public.

A response put out by Putnam’s office reads, “To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application. Upon discovery of this former employee’s negligence in not conducting the further review required on 365 applications, we immediately completed full background checks on those 365 applications, which resulted in 291 revocations. The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again.”

Leading the pack was Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum:

“Adam Putnam’s rhetoric on guns has been dangerous — but this is far worse. His department’s failure to conduct background checks is a dereliction of Putnam’s duties, and he should consider whether he is able to continue running for governor or serving as commissioner of agriculture,” Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, said in a written statement Friday.

Gillum also released a video on Facebook that went into greater detail, railing against dangers that he says Putnam may have unleashed in the forms of armed people who were not screened.

Former U.S. Rep. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham:

“Drop out now, Adam.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine:

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine stopped short of urging Putnam to drop out of the race, but did say he should consider resigning from the agriculture commissioner’s post, and Levine called for an investigation.

“Negligence that threatens and costs lives must never be tolerated — Adam Putnam’s lack of due diligence and disregard to follow protocols endangered communities and put people’s lives at unnecessary risk. Career politicians like Mr. Putnam think this is just another bad day at the office — but when you conceal a level of negligence that endangers every resident, and every child, in Florida, you forfeit any moral right to lead.”

“This failure by his office to review background checks coincided with the tragic Pulse shooting — a lack of responsibility like this cannot be tolerated. An investigation should be opened immediately. These developments require an immediate response from Commissioner Putnam, starting with if he deserves to continue to serve in his current role.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King:

“Adam Putnam should resign.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch:

His district includes the scene of the horrible Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School slaughter in February. He said in a tweet that Putnam “must” resign.

“My blood is boiling. This is an unimaginable failure for anyone who serves the public. He made FL less safe. He put lives at risk. He must resign.”

State Sen. Linda Stewart:

Her district includes the site of the horrible Pulse slaughter on June 12, 2016, said Putnam “needs to resign.”

“I’m extremely alarmed at the failure by Commissioner Putnam to disclose that his agency had failed to conduct these critical background checks — allowing possibly mentally disturbed individuals and others who shouldn’t be disqualified, to be legally armed in Florida.”

State Rep. Jared Moskowitz:

“After twenty-two years of holding public office, we can now add an additional major accomplishment to Adam Putnam’s lifetime government employee resume: helping to put guns into the hands of terrorists. Putnam’s gross negligence may have allowed someone on the FBI terror watch list to get a concealed carry permit.
“How can a politician who can’t even fulfill their basic duty to keep Floridians safe be our next governor? Lets just think what some Republicans would say if Obama did this, they would ask for his birth certificate……again!”

American Bridge:

“Adam Putnam should resign immediately,” American Bridge spokesperson Zach Hudson said in an issued statement. “Not being able to log into the FBI background checks system should have resulted in Adam Putnam’s office calling an IT professional, not approving concealed carry permits to potential criminals.”

The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence:

“Adam Putnam clearly has more allegiance to the NRA and gun culture than he has to ensuring the safety of Florida’s citizens,” stated Pride Fund executive director Jason Lindsay.

The Times article cites a report from the Office of the Inspector General that says that starting in February 2016 the department could not get into the FBI’s federal background check database to see if applicants had issues in other states that should prevent them from holding concealed weapons permits in Florida. The situation persisted until at least March 2017, according to the Times. The problem existed because the clerk with that role could not log into the FBI’s National Criminal Instant Background Check System, according to the OIG report.

In the 2015-16 fiscal year, Florida received a record 245,000 applications for concealed weapons permits. In the 2016-17 fiscal year the record was broken again with 275,000 applications, the Times reported.

Without federal background checks, it could be impossible to screen out anyone who might be disqualified from carrying guns in public in Florida, who might have such issues as mental illness, the Times notes.

Gillum’s reference to Putnam’s rhetoric may have been to Putnam’s statement, in a tweet last year, that he considers himself a “proud NRA sellout.”

Homestead mayor resigns ahead of Ag. Commissioner race

Jeff Porter, the three-term mayor of Homestead, is stepping down from his post effective early next year after submitting a resignation letter last night.

That’s according to a report from the Miami Herald. Porter declared his intention to run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner back in January. State law requires candidates to resign before running for another office with an overlapping term.

Porter, who has served as Homestead mayor since 2013, is one of two Democrats battling for the Agriculture Commissioner bid. He’s competing with David Walker for the nomination.

Current Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is competing in the Republican primary for Florida governor. Four Republicans are running for his old job and the right to face off against either Walker or Porter in the general election.

Porter has also previously served as vice mayor of Homestead and spent 10 years on the city council. He is owner and president of World Wide Supply Solutions, a supplier of building materials, which is based in Homestead.

In comments made to the Herald, Porter said he’s running in part to “better represent and fund the southeastern tip of the country.”

“The agriculture industry has just been decimated. Over the last 20 or 30 years, farmers have gone out of business and I just don’t understand,” Porter added.

“This area of the country, inside our borders, is the only place where we can grow produce in the winter to feed the nation, yet we’ve become totally reliant on food that comes from foreign countries. It’s almost like a national security issue.”

The primary for the Agriculture Commissioner race will be held Aug. 28.

Win or lose, Porter will be out as mayor on Jan. 7, 2019. Vice Mayor Stephen Shelley will take over on that date.

Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam holding Sun City Center rally Saturday

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is heading to Hillsborough tomorrow for a campaign rally in Sun City Center.

The event, hosted by the Sun City Republican Club, will be held at the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce, 1651 Sun City Center Plaza. Doors open at 2:00 pm and the rally is scheduled to get underway at 2:30 pm.

Putnam’s campaign said supporters who make their way to the south Hillsborough town can expect to meet Putnam and hear about his “Florida First vision for our state.”

The event is free to attend, though registration is required. Those looking to attend can take care of that ahead of time by heading to the rally’s Eventbrite page, though registration will also be available on site.

Putnam, currently in his second term as Agriculture Commissioner, was the first major Republican to enter the race to replace term limited Gov. Rick Scott. He faces U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is holding a pair of rallies in Northwest Florida Saturday, in the primary race.

At the end of April, Putnam held a fourfold lead in total fundraising and had about $19 million banked compared to $7 million on hand for DeSantis, who has since reported $3 million raised in May including $1.1 million in transfers from his now defunct re-election bid in Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

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