Adam Putnam – Page 5 – Florida Politics

Ron DeSantis, Matt Gaetz teaming up for two campaign rallies Saturday

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is running for Governor, and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz are holding a pair of joint campaign rallies Saturday within Gaetz’ Northwest Florida district.

The two Republicans, described as “absolute warriors” by President Donald Trump, will start their day in Pensacola with a 10:30 AM (CT) rally at the Polafox House, 196 N. Palafox St.

They’ll then travel the 50 miles or so to Valparaiso, where they’re scheduled to start rally No. 2 at 2:30 PM (CT). The afternoon event will be held at Compass Rose, 303 E Glen Ave.

Both events are open to the public.

DeSantis, who currently represents Florida’s 6th Congressional District, faces Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the Republican primary for Governor. The Trump-backed candidate will likely find a healthy base of support in the Panhandle region, where the president is very popular.

Gaetz, currently in his first term representing Florida’s 1st Congressional District, faces a two Republicans and two Democrats in his re-election campaign, though none of their campaigns have shown real traction.

Democrat Phillip Ehr has cracked six-figures in the money race, but his party affiliation will be a hinderance in CD 1. Republican Cris Dosev, a military veteran, finished third in the 2016 primary for the seat, however his 2018 bid is looking a little rocky.

The primary election for federal and state offices will be held Aug. 28.

Ron DeSantis’ May report included more than $1M in old money

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis said Monday that his campaign and affiliated political committee “took in more than $3 million” last month, but that may have been a little misleading.

When he made the announcement, partial month records for his committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, showed it had brought in about $1.27 million as of May 31, however those records have since been updated to include another $1.43 million worth of transactions on the last day of the month for a total “haul” of $2.7 million in May.

The source of $1.1 million of that cash was a transfer from Ron DeSantis for Florida, the principal campaign committee for his now-defunct re-election bid for Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

Here’s what his campaign said Monday, in its entirety: “The Ron DeSantis campaign for Governor took in more than $3 Million throughout a successful round of fundraising in May. The total amount was collected between the Friends of Ron DeSantis Political Committee and the campaign. This latest fundraising haul brings the total amount raised to $10.8 Million.”

Lots of candidates twist words when it comes to fundraising, most often by finding euphemistic ways to spin self-funding. This is different. This money wasn’t raised in May. Most of it wasn’t even raised in 2018.

While it’s technically not an untruth to say the money was “collected,” or that the account “took in” $3 million in May, it is certainly misleading. Especially considering the campaign held back half of its May 31 transactions until after it announced its “successful round of fundraising.”

Why the DeSantis team found it necessary to twist words is unclear. As it stands the committee brought in $1.6 million actual new money last month, and assuming there isn’t another trick up their sleeves the campaign is likely to show another $300,000-plus in its own right.

A $1.9 million effort is nothing to sneeze at. Even without the $1.1 million transfer, which indeed spends the same way as other cash, DeSantis is primed to go toe-to-toe with Adam Putnam’s May numbers.

We’ll see what the numbers actually show when the campaign and committee reports are in. Both are due to the state by June 11.

Gwen Graham’s first TV spot: PTA mom, Bob Graham’s daughter, end Republican rule

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham has launched her first television commercial in the Tampa and Orlando markets, a spot that introduces her as a mom, PTA president, daughter of Bob Graham, and someone who seeks to take back Tallahassee from Republicans.

The 30-second spot “Service” begins with collages of Graham’s life with her children and as a PTA president, and then turns to pictures of her with her father, as a narrator declares that while in Congress she applied the lessons she learned from him. It then turns to her only overt political message.

“Twenty years with one party, right?” she says. “Everything with all the wrong priorities. The Florida Legislature has not taken Medicaid expansion, they have hurt education, they have used the lottery to reduce funding, but we’re going to take it back.”

Her campaign announced Monday that the commercial would play in the Tampa and Orlando markets with more than $1 million in the initial buy. Her campaign has bided its time in turning to TV commercials, while some of her opponents have taken to the airwaves earlier.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has been blanketing television statewide since January. Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King began his TV advertising in mid- May. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum does not yet have any official TV commercials out, but he’s been supported by a TV campaign from the Collective Super PAC.

This week Palm Beach billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene has entered the field.

On the Republican side, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also has had commercials out for a couple of months, while U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has had almost daily appearances on FOX News.

The introductory moments of Graham’s new ad subtly focus on her being the only woman in the field, and the following shots, many of them following her around various job sites in her “WorkDays” program, emphasize her empathy for individuals, with her trademark hugs.

“Everything I do is through the prism of being a mom,” Graham states.

Chris King releases new digital ad, ‘Being Bold’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King is releasing a digital ad Wednesday that offers a broad, introductory look at his life, career, and positions on issues ranging from affordable housing to guns, and health care to criminal justice reform.

“I am the outsider with new ideas and fresh vision who is willing to display the political courage that this state needs to get things done,” King concludes in his remarks.

The two-minute, 23-second video, “Being Bold,” is being released on the internet and through social media backed by a six-figure buy, the campaign states.

The ad restates some of the positions King has cited in his first two statewide television commercials, including his pledges to take no money from the sugar industry and to “stand up to the NRA.”

The spot includes video from his campaign kickoff 15 months ago, to his April Democratic debate performance, to his criminal justice reform tour last month.

King is up against former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene in the August 28 Democratic primary to run for governor. The leading Republicans are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Gwen Graham would seek Constitutional amendment if needed to expand Medicaid

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham pledged Tuesday to do whatever is possible to expand Medicaid in Florida including getting behind a Constitutional amendment drive if she, as governor, cannot convince the Florida Legislature to accept the federal program.

Graham met Tuesday with a roundtable of health care leaders at the Florida Hospital Association offices in Florida, hearing tales of woe and frustration about the lack of coverage available to too many Floridians and how stretched services are to serve uninsured patients.

Most in the room appeared to support the Democrats’ desire to accept the Medicaid expansion program offered by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act, and Graham laid out several strategies she said she would pursue as governor, including, as a last resort, putting it on the statewide ballot.

“My commitment is to take Medicaid expansion. We’re going to get it done, even if we have to have a Constitutional amendment, I will spearhead a Constitutional amendment,” Graham told the gathering, which included former House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford and state Rep. Amy Mercado of Orlando.

Graham spoke of seeing first-hand, when she volunteered as a worker at a Shepherd’s Hope clinic in Longwood last year as part of her WorkDays program, how difficult it is for many Floridians to obtain health care. Shepherd’s Hope was represented at the table, along with representatives of Orlando’s major hospital systems, leaders of other clinics, and representatives of various health care and mental health associations.

They spoke to Graham of a situation that not only is difficult for the 800,000 uninsured Floridians and many others with too-limited coverage, but also difficult for the hospitals. On top of that is the new population of Puerto Ricans who came to Florida after Hurricane Maria destroyed their homes and livelihoods. Many are having to go back to the island for health care, because they can afford it in Puerto Rico, but not in Florida, said Milton Vazquez civic engagement program director for the Hispanic Federation of Orlando.

“It’s not letting up,” Jean Zambrano, vice president of clinical operations at Shepherd’s Hope, said of the needs.

Candice Crawford, president of the Mental Health Alliance of Central Florida, spoke of a “man-made disaster that we are not prepared for,” while talking about the mental health and addiction treatment services that have been cut this year in the Florida Department of Corrections budget. “They’re going to be sending people back out in the community that have had no treatment. They are sick, and they need help.

“We’ve got a problem. We have over 66,000 people in this state that have serious mental illness, and have zero mental health services,” Crawford added.

Others spoke of struggles with Florida’s opioid crisis; hospitals’ emergency rooms dealing with patients seeking primary care; under-reimbursements to hospitals; frustrations with getting coverage for telemedicine programs; the lack of available medical specialists, particularly psychiatrists; and expanding the scopes of practice for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, for which Martha DeCastro, the Florida Hospital Association‘s vice president for nursing and clinical care policy, declared, “Florida really is at the bottom of the heap.”

“This is just the beginning of this conversation. I look around this table and I know we’re going to have a lot of time together, because we have a lot of serious issues on how we get Florida to where the state needs to be,” Graham said.

Ron DeSantis raises more than $3 million in May

Last month brought U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis his best fundraising haul since first announcing his campaign for Governor at the beginning of the year.

The Northeast Florida Republican’s campaign announced Monday that DeSantis brought in more than $3 million between his campaign account and his affiliated political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis. That makes May his second most lucrative month behind January when he showed more than $3.3 million raised between the two accounts.

Neither report was viewable via the Florida Division of Elections as of Monday afternoon, and the campaign didn’t include DeSantis’ new on-hand total in the news release. The Donald Trump-backed candidate had about $7 million banked as of April 30, and the May effort puts his overall fundraising total at around $10.8 million.

Records available on the Friends of Ron DeSantis website show the committee brought in about $1.27 million last month, including a $500,000 check from Chicago-based hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin, and $100,000 apiece from Jupiter businessman Lawrence F. DeGeorge, J.W. Childs Associates CEO John W. Childs and United Automobile Insurance Co.

Expenditures topped $117,000, including $32,736 to Seaborn Strategic for direct mail services, $28,250 to Ello Creative for media consulting and $23,411 to Ross Consulting for political consulting work.

Based on those figures, the committee had more than $7.26 million on hand heading into June.

While DeSantis has posted some impressive fundraising during his short time in the gubernatorial contest, Republican Primary opponent Adam Putnam held a fourfold lead in total fundraising at the end of last month. His cash on hand advantage may take a hit, however, as mid-month figures from his committee showed $226,000 in fundraising and nearly $3.25 million in spending through the first three weeks of May.

Most of that spending went toward media buys, an expense DeSantis has yet to incur in any substantive way due to his frequent appearances on Fox News.

Putnam had about $19 million on hand at the end of April. He has not yet announced his May fundraising numbers.

The winner of the DeSantis versus Putnam contest will the winner what recently became a five-way primary on the Democratic side. South Florida billionaire Jeff Greene announced Monday he would run for Governor as a Democrat, joining Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

Gwen Graham set to hit TV in Orlando, Tampa Wednesday

Gwen Graham plans to go up with her first TV commercials Wednesday in the Orlando and Tampa markets.

Her campaign announced Monday morning it is spending more than $1 million on its initial TV buy in the two I-4 corridor markets.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has been blanketing television statewide since January. Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King began his TV advertising in mid- May. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum does not yet have any official TV commercials out, but he’s been supported by a TV campaign from the Collective Super PAC.

And now Palm Beach billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene has entered the field.

On the Republican side, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam also has had commercials out for a couple of months, while U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has had almost daily appearances on FOX News.

The Graham campaign did not give explicit details about the first ad, saying it would be revealed later this week.

“After 20 years of one-party Republican rule, Floridians are ready for new leadership,” Graham Campaign Manager Julia Woodward stated in a news release. “We’re excited to share our positive message with even more Democrats across the I-4 corridor.”

Graham raised more than any of her primary opponents in April and is beginning her paid communications strategy with more cash on hand than any other Democrat in the race, the campaign noted in the news release.

Florida Chamber puts $1M behind pro-Adam Putnam ad

A political committee linked to the Florida Chamber of Commerce is putting seven figures behind a new ad in support of Adam Putnam’s campaign for Governor.

“This is Florida. Good paying jobs, balanced budgets, and a future as bright as the sunshine we’re so famous for. Adam Putnam will keep it going,” the ad narrator states. “Adam Putnam will keep taxes low, tackle traffic congestion, and Adam Putnam will ensure our kids have the skills they need for the jobs they want. Florida first, Florida’s best.”

The 30-second ad closes with Putnam standing alongside his family and includes clips of him working in a kitchen and speaking with factory workers. The factory clips appear to be cut from Putnam’s recent campaign ad touting his plan to strengthen vocational education opportunities for Florida students.

The Florida Chamber, via Securing Florida’s Future, Inc., is spending at least $1 million running the ad on Fox News. That major media buy is in addition to the more than $1.9 million the Florida Chamber has pumped into Putnam’s political committee — $1.32 million via Florida Jobs PAC and $575,000 via Florida Chamber of Commerce PAC.

In early May, the Florida Chamber endorsed Putnam in his Republican Primary battle against Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who entered the at the beginning of the year.

Putnam and DeSantis are the only major Republicans vying to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who is term-limited and running for Senate in the fall.

As of April 30, Putnam’s Florida Grown committee had raised $23.43 million and had about $15.3 million banked. The 43-year-old Republican has also amassed nearly $5.5 million for his campaign account, with $3.6 million on hand. DeSantis’ April finance reports showed total fundraising of $7.8 million and a little over $7 million banked.

Finance reports covering all of May are due to the state on June 11, however records on Florida Grown’s website show the committee had spent $3.25 million as of May 21, much of it on media buys.

The Florida Chamber ad is below.

Philip Levine raises $1.3 million in May, matches it with his own money

Philip Levine continues to set the fundraising pace for Democrats running for governor, raising $1.3 million in May and matching that with another $1.3 million of his own money, his campaign announced Monday.

With that $2.6 million haul, Levine’s official campaign and his independent political committee All About Florida combined now have brought in more than $15 million so far, far ahead of his rivals for the August 28 Democratic primary, his campaign stated.

The others, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King have not yet announced any May fundraising numbers, and their reports will not post until next week. And word early Monday indicated Palm Beach businessman Jeff Greene, perhaps the only prospective candidate who can spend more of his own money than Levine, is entering the field.

Levine, the former Miami Beach mayor, also has been burning through money far faster than any of his rivals, having spent more than $10 million through the end of April, mostly on television commercials. The spending has boosted Levine to the top of the polls, and the campaign still is expressing excitement about a survey last week that showed him with a 10-point lead over Graham, who has not yet begun any television advertising.

On the Republican side, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised far more money to date. He too has been spending heavily on television in the past two months, while U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has been relying on almost daily appearances on FOX News.

“With primary ballots being mailed in 50 days, Philip Levine is bringing together supporters and donors from all parts of Florida who are ready to break the cycle of Republican control in Tallahassee. Our campaign is building a formidable lead in support, fundraising, and grassroots energy, ” Levine senior adviser Christian Ulvert stated in a news release. “This strong showing of support confirms yet again that our campaign has the backing, momentum, and message to win in August and November, and elect a Democratic candidate to the Governor’s Office for the first time in twenty years.”

Email insights: Democrats say Ron DeSantis running ‘slash-and-burn’ campaign

The Florida Democratic Party bashed Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in a Friday email for running what it calls a “slash-and-burn, Trumpian campaign for governor.”

The party pointed a news coverage of a recent campaign rally in Citrus County where the Donald Trump-backed gubernatorial hopeful railed against the “four liberals” on the state Supreme Court and refused to condemn calls from the crowd suggesting they be lynched.

“Sound more like Breitbart than a future governor of Florida? Breitbart likes that,” FDP said in the email. “Rebekah Mercer — one of the site’s owners — cut a $25,000 check for DeSantis a few days ago. The site has also emerged as one of DeSantis’ nastiest attack dogs, publishing multiple articles attacking Adam Putnam and defending DeSantis’ conservative credentials.”

FDP included links to articles on Breitbart, suggesting the right-wing news platform is serving as a sunshine pumper for his campaign, and tossed in a link to a Steve Hantler-penned op-ed on RealClearPolitics that paints Putnam as a Trump basher.

“It’s now clear that DeSantis intends to run a campaign where he defends the President on cable television — and courts the most fringe voters back home in Florida,” the email said.

DeSantis and Putnam are the only two major Republicans seeking the party’s nomination to succeed term-limited Gov. Rick Scott. Running on the Democratic side are former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

The primary election is Aug. 28.

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