Adam Putnam – Page 6 – Florida Politics

Chris King proposes bullet tax for school violence prevention program

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King is proposing a tax on  bullets to help fund new anti-gun violence and safety programs in Florida schools.

The plan, rolled out Friday at a town hall meeting in St. Petersburg, calls for dedicating existing sales tax revenue on firearms and ammunition sales to a special fund, and then adding an additional tax of 6 percent on the sale of ammunition, which he calls a “safety fee.”

The revenue from those plus some of the money he expects to free up or generate through some other parts of the criminal justice reform plan he unveiled in May would fund gun violence prevention and intervention programs, school safety measures, and other related measures.

King’s calling the plan his “Every Kid Fund” for gun violence prevention.

Some of the money also would be reserved for gun violence safety studies and to reimburse trauma centers for medical costs of treating victims of mass shootings.

Law enforcement and other key groups would be exempted from the bullets tax.

“I’m proposing the ‘Every Kid Fund’ for Gun Violence Prevention because every child deserves to grow up in a state free from the scourge of gun violence, whether it’s everyday gun violence or mass shootings,” King stated in a news release issued by his campaign. “We should be investing in new and innovative ways to keep Floridians safe and that’s why I’ll bring my bold, progressive policy to Tallahassee and send ‘proud NRA sellouts’ like Adam Putnam packing.”

King hopes to face Putnam, or U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the two leading Republican gubernatorial candidates, in November. First he must win the August 28 Democratic primary against former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. He trails them all in most polls.

He’s counting on this and other his proposals, such as his criminal justice reform package, which included legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana, and ending the death penalty, to begin to set him apart, and on his newly-begun TV commercials, to raise his name recognition from single-digits in polls.

Earlier this week he rolled out his second TV commercial, focusing on the mass shootings at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, attacking Republican Gov. Rick Scott, and stating his case to ban assault weapons

Denise Grimsley

Senate leaders back Denise Grimsley for Ag Commissioner

Sebring Sen. Denise Grimsley bid to be Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture has earned the backing of incoming Senate President Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson.

“Senator Grimsley is uniquely qualified to be the state’s next Agriculture Commissioner, not only because of her extensive background in citrus growing and cattle ranching, but because she brings a unique experience of running a business and an administration — all while navigating government red tape,” Galvano said Wednesday.

“I have no doubt that Denise Grimsley will bring her no-nonsense work ethic and her commitment to the State of Florida as a whole to work every day. I look forward to giving her campaign my full support.”

Simpson, whose job outside of politics is running a major chicken farm, said Grimsley “is the type of Floridian who runs for higher office not because she wants to, but because she knows the state needs her. Denise is a standout candidate in the Republican primary because of her hands-on experience and real-life know-how. I am proud to endorse Denise for Agriculture Commissioner and will vigorously help her campaign for this post.”

Galvano and Simpson are the latest in a string of endorsements announced by Grimsley in recent weeks. They join 18 county sheriffs, including four who announced their endorsements last week.

“I am honored Senate President-designate Galvano and Majority Leader Simpson have endorsed my campaign to be Florida’s next Commissioner of Agriculture,” said Senator Grimsley. “During my time in the Florida Senate, I had the privilege of working alongside these leaders to better our great state, and I am grateful they’ve recognized me as the person best fit to lead the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services on behalf of Floridians.”

Grimsley, a nurse by trade, built her agribusiness credentials running her family’s citrus and cattle operations.

She was elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving four terms in the Florida House. She is one of the leading candidates to replace current Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is term-limited and running for Governor.

Joe Henderson: Voter poll is a chapter, but full story is yet to come

The latest voter survey by Public Policy Polling — the one showing Philip Levine with a double-digit lead in the race for the Democratic gubernatorial race — is interesting and should be taken seriously.

His strategy of blanketing the airwaves seems to be working, although it would be more impressive if the primary was held in early June.

But it’s a long game (just ask the Houston Rockets what it means to be ahead at halftime). Toward that end, over lunch the other day, a friend was saying nice things about Adam Putnam, having met him a few times. That is welcome news to him, I’m sure, considering recent events.

But then, my friend casually asked who was running on the Democratic side. I said, well, there’s Philip Levine — he used to be mayor of Miami Beach.

I got a quizzical if-you-say-so look.

Well, and there is Gwen Graham. Remember U.S. Sen. Bob Graham? That’s his daughter.

Um, no. No clue.

At that point, I didn’t bother to mention Andrew Gillum or Chris King.

Now, my friend is older, smart, only peripherally interested in politics but will turn out to vote.

That is the kind of voter Democrats are going to need if they have any realistic hope of regaining the Governor’s Mansion in November. To many folks, though, their efforts have been a tree falling in the forest.

It’s not for a lack of trying.

They’ve all been out on the campaign trail, meeting with every civic or political group (or fundraiser) that will offer an audience.

Only Levine has been peppering the TV airwaves with commercials though, especially the one where he says public school teachers deserve a $10,000 annual raise.

I did some quick math on that.

There are about 180,000 public school teachers in Florida.

That works out to about $1.8 billion in extra money the state would have to find to make Levine’s wish come true even if he becomes the next Governor.

If you believe that will happen, fly to Vegas immediately and put it all on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl next season.

It’s a message that Levine is planting in voters’ minds, though.

I mean, it’s never bad to be on the side of public school teachers; they are the firewall between us and a future straight out of a zombie apocalypse. 

They should be paid accordingly.

It’s fair game, though, to ask Levine exactly how he would plan to do that.

And since during a debate he fumbled over the question of how much money the state budgeted this year for public education (along with each of Democratic competitors), I think the devil might be in the details on this one.

The good news for Levine is that it’s probably too early for the vast majority of voters to care about details, or platforms, or even to get serious about knowing candidates who might as well be from the planet Zortron for all they know.

After all, they are competing for attention with seismic stories like the cancellation of the Roseanne Barr show on TV after her racist (but predictable) Twitter meltdown.

So, polls show Levine with a big lead. It shows Rick Scott leading Bill Nelson.

Interesting? Sure.

But what’s all mean?

Three words: Hillary. Rodham. Clinton.

After all, we are about three months away from the primaries and more than five months from the general election.

Candidates who are way behind should be aware and maybe a little concerned. But anyone in the lead probably shouldn’t start thinking about measuring drapes for their new office just yet.

Chris King expands campaign staff

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King is promoting Stephanie McClung to deputy campaign manager and adding two new staff members, the campaign announced Tuesday.

McClung had been serving as finance director. She was a deputy finance direct for former Gov. Charlie Crist‘s 2014 gubernatorial campaign, and for Crist’s successful 2016 congressional campaign. She also had served as finance director at Ruth’s List Florida.

Jada H. Smith of Clermont joins as the campaign’s outreach coordinator. Smith served as chief operating officer of the Experience Christian Center in Orlando and has served as chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida and chief operating officer of the American Red Cross Mid-Florida Region.

Caitlin Lang of Winter Park will serve as Central Florida regional coordinator. Lang organized for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 2017 gubernatorial campaign and was an organizer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign in Orlando.

“After launching our first TV spot and rolling out a bold and progressive criminal justice plan earning statewide praise, we’re continuing to expand our campaign’s presence across the state,” Campaign Manager Zach Learner stated in a news release. “In this wide-open race for governor, Stephanie, Jada and Caitlin will help us share Chris’s message of fresh ideas and new leadership and we’re excited to have them on Team King.”

King is battling with former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for the August 28 Democratic gubernatorial primary nomination. The leading Republicans are Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis.

Earlier this month, the King campaign announced the hiring of regional directors along the crucial I-4 corridor to lead the campaign’s organizing and outreach efforts in Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

25 big questions facing Florida politics heading into Summer

Summer is here — well, unofficially at least. And with it comes cookouts, summer vacations, and the final six months of the 2018 campaign. With the busiest election cycle in Florida’s modern history, the answers to these 14 questions (plus a fill-in-the-blank) could shape the future of the state.

Will Marco Rubio fully embrace his role as a counterbalance to Donald Trump? As close as Florida’s junior Senator appears to be with Trump and as much as the president seems to have abdicated foreign policy decisions on Latin America affairs to him, Rubio has recently been one of the most forceful critics of the administration. On China, the FBI investigation, immigration policy, and several other issues, Rubio is articulating an alternative to Trump’s vision. Rubio is anything but Lil’ Marco right now. How long this lasts, however, is anyone’s guess.

— Does Bill Nelson have an answer for the Rick Scott juggernaut? Even Democrats acknowledge that Scott’s first months back on the campaign trail have been impressive, so much so that he turned a four-point polling deficit to Nelson into a four-point lead. He’s done it by barraging Florida’s senior Senator with one TV ad after another. Scott is also working to reshape Florida’s electoral math by aggressively campaigning to Hispanic subgroups (Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans) that traditionally vote Democratic. Meanwhile, Nelson’s re-elect is bare-bones (the political director is splitting time between the campaign and her Senate job) and only recently received air cover from Senate Majority PAC. Nelson recently said he would keep his powder dry until the fall. That strategy did not work for Charlie Crist in 2014, but maybe Pete Mitchell (Nelson’s longtime consigliere) knows something we don’t.

Follow-up: Will an active hurricane season lockout Nelson from campaigning while Scott gets to don his Navy ball cap and SERT jacket and play Action Figure Governor?

— How often does Donald Trump campaign for Ron DeSantis? — With polls showing Adam Putnam and DeSantis running neck-and-neck for the GOP nomination for Governor, it seems like the entire race may come down to how much shoulder Trump puts behind the U.S. Rep. he has described as one of his “warriors.” POTUS recently said he’d soon be in Florida to stump for DeSantis, but with a trade war with China and peace talks with North Korea occupying so much of Trump’s time, how often can he campaign in the Sunshine State? Putnam supporters are prepared for a rally or two, plus a robocall and some tweets, but if Trump sets up shop at the Florida State Fairgrounds, there may not be much they can do to stop DeSantis.

Follow-up: Will DeSantis do anything that resembles traditional campaigning, such as hire an expanded staff, establish campaign HQs, or issue policy positions? Or is his only path to the Governor’s Mansion via Fox News?

Follow-up: Will Florida Man Roger Stone, indirectly linked with a dark-money campaign attacking DeSantis, be indicted as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation?

— Can Adam Putnam stop shooting himself in the foot? He’s raised $30 million, has built a statewide organization that would make Jeb Bush envious, and his knowledge of Florida and its issues is, arguably, unparalleled among those running for Governor. Yet, where it stands now, there’s never been more doubt about whether Adam Putnam can win his party’s nomination, much less the general election in November. It seems like just as he is gathering momentum, his campaign does something to trip over itself, as it did by scheduling a fundraiser at the home of a man videotaped in 2008 shooting two dogs. Putnam eventually canceled the event, but not after losing another news cycle. The hard truth is he never fully recovered from the cringe-worthy moment when he described himself as an “NRA sellout.” And that was before the Parkland school shooting. It’s become so bad for Putnam, even his hometown allies at Publix had to promise to stop contributing to him. Putnam’s saving grace? There’s still time to right the ship. Maybe.

Follow-up: Will any other significant corporate contributors to Putnam be boycotted similar to what happened to Publix over Memorial Day Weekend?

— Is the Democratic field for Governor set? Ever since John Morgan (wisely) closed the door on a statewide bid, the Democratic field has remained static with Philip Levine and Gwen Graham leading in the polls, Andrew Gillum insisting he has momentum, and Chris King looking to breakout. Perhaps because none of these four has been able to emerge as the clear front-runner, former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy and former U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Greene are both eyeing entering the race, with Greene the more likely of the two to get in. Murphy has floated the idea of running on a bipartisan ticket with former Republican Congressman David Jolly and has met with high-level donors about underwriting their maverick bid. It’s unclear how much of an appetite there is for a two-white-dudes ticket in a Democratic primary, just as it’s unclear if Greene is willing to part with the $40 or $50 million (at least) he’d need to be competitive. One thing you can bet on is Graham hoping one or both of them join the race and further divide the vote.

Follow-up: Will Morgan continue to plow money into a 2020 ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15? What will he do next to push for full legalization of marijuana (and not just the medical kind)?

Follow-up: If Murphy doesn’t run, what does Jolly do next? He’s ubiquitous on cable news, but he doesn’t live in a winnable congressional district. Read his Twitter account and try to tell yourself he doesn’t want to mount a primary challenge against Trump in 2020.

— How much money is Phil Levine willing to spend to win the primary election? He may not be getting the best ROI on his money, at least in terms of television points purchased versus his standing in the polls, but the former Miami Beach Mayor can claim ‘scoreboard‘ when it comes to his decision to spend millions of dollars on early TV ads in his pursuit of the Democratic nomination. He’s entering the summer with a 10 point lead over Graham, according to one poll. Of course, Graham hasn’t really gone up with her own ads, but even when she does Levine can still flood the airwaves with his spots. That’s if he wants to write a check for another $15 or $20 million. The increasing chatter among many insiders has Levine narrowly winning his primary, then facing off against DeSantis in the fall.

Follow-up: When does Graham go up on the air? More importantly, can she raise the money to be on the air for the final post-July 4th weeks of the campaign?

Follow-up: Will Gillum have the resources needed to communicate to African American voters and the progressive wing of the party, the two pillars he’s basing his campaign on?

Follow-up: Now that he’s rolling out his agenda and spending money on TV ads, will King finally see a bump in the polls?

Follow-up: Will any of the Democrats emerge victorious from the series of debates planned for over the summer? Or will they regress to their performances on display during the first televised debate?

— What kind of campaigns — for and against — will spring up around the CRC’s ballot questions? The Constitution Revision Commission tacked on a slew of proposed amendments to the state constitution. And almost all of these amendments address multiple, albeit linked, issues. And with each of these issues, there’s a special interest who will be impacted by whether the amendments pass. Energy companies are opposed to the ban on offshore drilling, tobacco interests should be opposed to the vaping ban, and the education establishment should be very afraid of the proposals dealing with charter schools. Both sides of the proposed ban on greyhound racing are already gearing up for a loser-leaves-town match. Political consultants should be able to pay their kids’ tuition with the money they can make off these races.

Follow-up: Will city and county governments be able to muster a defense against the expansion of the homestead exemption?

Follow-up: Will the push to restore voting rights find bipartisan support?

— Will any of the undercard candidates breakout? There are multi-way GOP primaries for Agriculture Commissioner and Attorney General and, after that, there are promises to be competitive races for at least two of the Cabinet positions. But if you polled any of these races, undecided would probably capture three-fifths of the vote. Who the heck knows who Jeremy Ring (he’s running for CFO) or Baxter Troutman (he’s running for Ag. Commissioner) are? With limited budgets, these candidates are hoping for a breakout moment in July or August. Meanwhile, they’ll keep up with the grassroots campaigning, clawing for endorsements, working the county parties, winning straw polls, etc.

— Where will state Democrats find the money to fund their Senate campaigns? In at least six districts, Republican incumbents face legitimate threats to their re-election as Democrats seek to win four of those races in order to regain a share of control of the Florida Senate. But these races are brutally expensive; some other states’ races for governor are not as costly as those in battleground Senate districts. Perennially cash-strapped, Florida Democrats probably need to raise $10 million to fund all of these challengers, but Republican Senate leaders have warned special interests not to play in these races. The bottom line: Democrats have the table set … they’ve got their forks and knives … they’ve even got the A-1 sauce. Now all they need is the steak.

Follow-up: Can Senate Democrats actually work together to gain seats or is the recent formation of two political committees by a faction of Senators a sign of dissension to come?

Follow-up: Will former Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas decide to run for Senate District 36?

— What kind of surprises are in store for the last day of candidate qualifying? This is Florida politics, so you know there will be some kind of shenanigans on the final day of candidate qualifying on June 22? Perhaps a veteran pol will decide at the last moment to not seek re-election? Maybe (or almost certainly) someone hoping to run will screw-up their check or paperwork and, in the end, be kept off the ballot? How many faux candidates will qualify as write-ins, thereby closing legislative races to only one party? All of this and more will likely happen, so pull up a chair outside of the Division of Elections and watch the drama unfold.

— What is David Hogg’s next target? The Parkland student has taken down Laura Ingraham, Publix, and, somewhat, Putnam? If you are a corporate executive, right now you are praying Hogg doesn’t turn you into his next hashtag. And if he does, there’s working strategy for how to respond. Conservatives increasingly despise Hogg’s activism, especially as he threatens to get more involved in the upcoming elections. But good luck fighting with this teenager (that’s right, he’s still just a teenager). Hogg could be, if he’s not already, the most dangerous individual currently operating in Florida politics.

We always close this article with a reminder that it is the truly unknown unknowns that make Florida politics so maddeningly interesting. As much as we know there will be elections in August and November, we don’t know if there will be another hurricane or shooting that will change the trajectory of #FlaPol and all of the players involved. Best to pray that nothing tragic occurs, but be prepared for the eventuality that something will.

A brief history of time: Here’s what Florida candidates are doing on Facebook

Social media giant Facebook recently unveiled its database of candidate and issue spending. It archives all political ads dating back to May 7.

The information provides insights to what extent candidates are prioritizing digital spending on Facebook along with its subsidiary Instagram.

The changes are a direct result of Facebook coming under scrutiny for giving way to Russian trolls during the 2016 election and enabling some to disperse messages of hate. The changes bring with them more intense verification and thorough disclosure processes. The most noticeable change to the average user is likely the “paid for by …” descriptor now attached to candidate- or issue-related ads.

In announcing the changes Thursday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “One of my top priorities for 2018 is making sure we help prevent interference and misinformation in elections. These changes won’t fix everything, but they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads.”

Zuckerberg also suggested the changes would result in more careful and message-conscious approaches, as each ad would now be easily traced back to who purchased it.

“I hope they’ll also raise the bar for all political advertising online,” wrote Zuckerberg.

The search option for the database is simple; typing in a candidate’s name or a political organization’s title will yield ads related to the search term, including who’s paid for them. Also provided: an estimated amount it took to advertise the ad, its status currently (active or not) and the number of impressions it has garnered.

Florida Politics has queried some terms related to 2018 races. It’s early yet, and results vary by candidate and group, but there already are some takeaways. For example, the Florida Democratic Party is inundating Facebook with anti-Rick Scott ads, meanwhile, U.S. Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis, who’s running for Governor, can’t quite seem to figure out the new rules.

Here’s a brief breakdown, as of Friday:

U.S. Senate

Republican Gov. Scott has run 30 ads since May 7, each one with less than $1,000 behind it. Eleven of the ads are either in Spanish or prefaced with Spanish and interpreted in English below.

Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in the same time has launched 53 ads, a majority of which were solicitations for campaign donations.

Governor’s race

In the Republican primary race for Governor, Adam Putnam‘s Florida Grown committee has run 12 separate digital ads touting the Agriculture Commissioner’s vocational-technical program announced last week. Most of those were backed with buys ranging between $100 to $499, though one sits below $100, two are within the $1,000 to $5,000 range, and one has crossed into the $5,000 – $10,000 range.

Florida Grown also backed three ads with pro-life abortion messages, one fell in the $100 to $499 range, the other two were fueled by $500 – $999 buys.

Putnam’s spending on Facebook draws a stark contrast with DeSantis, who attempted to run one ad in May — only to see it taken down “because it goes against Facebook’s advertising policies,” reads the archive.

On the Democratic side, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has run 35 ads on Facebook since May 7. Most of the ads fall within the less than $100 or $100 to $499 range, but two have crossed the $1,000 mark: a video touting his progressive record as mayor and another expressing his support for teachers.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, in contrast, doesn’t seem to be focusing as much on digital spending — on Facebook, at least. A search of her name reveals that she’s only had two ads, both spanning a day, since May 7. Both were backed with less than $100.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has run 37 ads on Zuckerberg’s platforms. And at first glance it appears Gillum is getting the most bang for his buck — good news for a campaign behind in the money chase. The Gillum camp dished out between $100 – $499 to push out an Orlando Sentinel editorial on Florida’s record on health care. Over the article, Gillum wrote, “Our state ranks at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to access to affordable healthcare — we have a health care crisis. As Governor, I’ll fight for ‘Medicare for All’, an expansion of Medicaid, and protections for women’s health care and pre-existing conditions.”

It grabbed the mayor anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 impressions, or the number of instances an ad is on-screen for the first time for a user. To reach the same amount of screens, Levine spent in the $1,000 to $5,000 range, though that amount of spending also netted the Miami Beach Mayor impressions exceeding 200,000 in one instance.

Orlando businessman Chris King, who’s consistently in third or fourth in the polls, has launched 33 ads since May 7, all but one of which was accompanied with $100 or less. He is, however, the second Democrat, following Levine, to finance a TV spend.

Cabinet races

In the recorded period, the candidates for Cabinet seats who’ve advertised on Facebook are as follows: Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who’s running for reelection, Agriculture Commissioner candidates state Senator Denise Grimsley and Baxter Troutman, and state Rep. Jay Fant, who’s running for Attorney General.

U.S. Representatives

Two of the most vulnerable Florida Republicans, Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Brian Mast, both are active on Facebook. Mast has run 19 ads on his own accord since Facebook began archiving posts. Curbelo has just one, but has been supported with two others from a climate change-focused group. The Congressional Leadership Fund has dedicated a decent amount of digital spending for both candidates, though as of now it has yet to show up.

Former congressman Alan Grayson and incumbent Darren Soto, who will duke it out in the Aug. 28 primary, both were not active during the recorded period.

In the closely watched Democratic primary for CD 27, Donna Shalala has spent between $100 and $499 on five ads, while state Rep. David Richardson has spent similar amounts on five ads as well. The three other candidates did not spend anything.

Dems and Republicans

The Florida Democratic Party has hit Facebook consistently during May, sharing just two messages: defeat Scott and reform gun laws. Of the 133 ads by Dems in the recorded period, 55 targeted Scott while also solicitng donations. Only one Scott-focused buy exceeded $100.

Interestingly, a search for “Republican Party of Florida” yields a goose egg.

Publix: Where shopping for influence is no longer a pleasure

Publix’s decision, in the face of protests over its Adam Putnam donations, to suspend its political giving this year could mean more than $1 million that the company will not donate this year to various political campaigns and groups.

The company, whose slogan, “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” has graced Florida and other states it serves, announced Friday afternoon it would suspend its political giving, as protesters, called to action by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor and activist David Hogg and others, began protests in stores.

They were upset with the more than $670,000 the Polk County-based company had donated to the political committee of Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, someone who has called himself an “NRA sellout.” Hogg and many other Stoneman Douglas survivors have emerged as national leaders of a campaign for gun control since a gunman murdered 17 people in their school Feb. 14.

The Republican state agriculture commissioner, also from Polk County, is not the only beneficiary of Publix’s political donations, and the company likely was far from finished in giving this year.

In the past 10 years Publix has donated nearly $10.9 million to politics, according to records at the Florida Division of Elections reviewed by FloridaPolitics. In the last two election years Publix donated $1.8 million in 2014 and $2 million in 2016. So far this year the company has donated just $620,000. That could mean the company still had plenty more ready to be distributed in 2018, though it could have placed most of its bets last year. Publix’s 2017 donations of $1.5 million was the most ever for the company in an off-year.

Publix has given to both Republicans and Democrats, though it prefers Republicans by a large ratio. Since Jan. 1, 2009, Publix has donated $615,519 to the Republican Party of Florida and has made another 541 contributions to individual Republicans running for office, providing $367,054 to their campaigns. Publix has donated $365,000 to the Florida Democratic Party and made donations to 151 individual Democrats, providing $90,521 to their campaigns during the same period.

Those contributions include money provided to 14 Democrats for this election cycle, including several who have aligned themselves closely with the Stoneman Douglas students movement for gun control.

Forty-nine Republicans have gotten contributions in this election cycle including Putnam and attorney general candidate state Rep. Frank White, who both have gotten the maximum candidate contributions of $1,000.

Otherwise, the big losers in Publix decision could be the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Retail Federation, and the National Association of Independent Businesses of Florida, which are used to getting big donations to their own political action committees from the grocery store company, and then spending it on their own political interests.

Since 2009 Publix has funneled $4.1 million into the chamber’s various PACs, and $3.0 million into the retail federation’s various PACs. Another $450,000 has gone to the NAIB-Florida’s PAC.

Publix also has donated more than $100,000 to the Florida Justice Reform Committee, the Committee for Florida Justice Reform, the Florida Prosperity Fund, and the Committee for Smarter Growth. Gov Rick Scott’s Let’s Get To Work PAC has garnered $50,000.

Publix suspends political giving amid anti-NRA protest

The Publix supermarket chain says it’s suspending political contributions as it reevaluates its giving policy after students from the Parkland, Florida, high school where 17 people were killed called for a boycott because it supports a candidate aligned with the National Rifle Association.

Student activists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staged “die in” protests at two Publix stores Friday. They are upset over contributions Publix made to Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, who has called himself an NRA sellout.

Publix announced earlier this week that it would “reevaluate” its donations amid the outcry. In another statement Friday it announced it would halt its contributions for now.

The statement emailed by Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said the company would “suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.

Putnam Ad 5.17.2018

Adam Putnam’s committee has spent $3.25M this month

Adam Putnam is on a spending spree.

The Republican gubernatorial candidate’s main fundraising vehicle, Florida Grown PC, tacked on another $226,000 in contributions through the first three weeks of May according to contribution reports on its website, but those gains were outstripped by nearly $3.25 million in spending.

Receiving the bulk of those funds was Smart Media Group. The Virginia-based company took in just under $2.8 million for three media buys — $872,000 on May 4, $1 million on May 10 and $925,000 on May 17. That last check was likely drafted to run Putnam’s newest campaign ad, which touts his plan to invest in vocational education and slams so-called “liberal elites” for their perceived lack of respect for trade workers.

The other $425,000 or so in spending included about $160,000 in payments to Chicago-based i360 for database services as well as a $150,000 contribution to the Republican Party of Florida, alongside numerous smaller expenditures.

When it comes to money received, Disney is so far the top donor in May. The House of Mouse gave the Polk County pol nearly $70,000 through a pair of its subsidiaries — $50,000 via Disney Worldwide Services and $19,794 via Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Florida Grown also received $25,000 checks from NBCUniversal, Georgia businessman Wayne Pearson, Lakeland retiree Mark Clayton Hollis Jr. and Building On Your Dreams, a political committee connected to Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran put some cash on the table, too. His political committee, Watchdog PAC, cut the second-term Agriculture Commissioner a check for $20,000 last week.

Watchdog PAC was Corcoran’s main fundraising vehicle for what most onlookers though would be a gubernatorial — or even Attorney General — campaign in the fall. He ended speculation about his political future a couple weeks ago when he announced he would not make a statewide run and would instead back Putnam over U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican Primary for Governor.

The contribution came in on May 17, about a week after the endorsement.

Following Corcoran’s contrib on the ledger were trio of $10,000 checks, one each from TKM Farms, Saunders Real Estate and former TECO Energy CEO John B. Ramil.

The most noteworthy donor under the five-figure mark was Tallahassee lobbying firm Johnson & Blanton, which received $1.25 million in compensation during the first quarter. That includes $425,000 for its work lobbying the Governor and Cabinet, including Putnam.

As of April 30, Putnam’s 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.

Gwen Graham adds political director Monica Rodrigues, two others to team

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham has hired Monica Rodrigues to be her campaign’s political director and also added , Ed Rodriguez, and Jenny Busby to head the policy, and operations teams, Graham’s campaign announced Thursday.

Rodrigues, of Miami Beach, previously served as the communication director and development director for Enroll America, helping with the enrollment of 1.9 million Floridians in Obamacare.

A former Navy corpsman and Iraq War veteran, Rodriguez joins the campaign’s deputy policy director. He has previously worked for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America as a legislative associate in the organization’s Washington, D.C. policy team, and also has experiences as a legislative staffer in the U.S. Senate and as a political consultant for Solidarity Strategies.

Busby joins as the operations director. She previously worked as a staffer to U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, and also has worked for the Democratic Party and state Sen. Nan Rich.

“Monica, Ed, and Jenny are all motivated, dedicated young Floridians who joined our team because they care about our state and making the future brighter for their generation,” Graham stated in a news release. “With their help, we’re going to continue talking with more Floridians across the state about restoring our public schools, protecting our environment, and creating an economy that works for everyone.”

Graham, a former congresswoman from Tallahassee, faces businessman Chris King, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine in the August 28 Democratic Primary. The leading Republicans are U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and  Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons