Adam Putnam Archives - Page 7 of 27 - Florida Politics

Rick Scott gearing up for GOP convention speech

Gov. Rick Scott brushed off questions about whether Donald Trump would be able to secure the nomination next week, saying the New York Republican is the clear winner.

“He clearly won the delegates,” said Scott during a stop in Naples Friday. “My goal is that we have a great convention, and we highlight where we’re going as a country and a party, and we have a big win and change the direction of this country.”

Scott is one of dozens of people slated to speak during the Republican National Convention next week. The Naples Republican praised Trump early in the primary cycle but did not endorse him until after Florida’s March 15 primary. Since then, he has been a vocal supporter of the New York Republican and was often mentioned as a potential running mate.

Trump announced Friday he selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate. During his stop in Naples, Scott told reporters he had made it clear to Trump he wasn’t interested in the No. 2 spot.

“I’ve been clear all along,” he said. “I have a great job, and I want to keep this job.”

Scott said he is excited to go to the convention, noting he missed most of the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa because of a hurricane. Republicans cut the conference short by a day because of the storm threat. Scott also was scheduled to speak at that event.

“I’m going to talk about why we ought to elect Donald Trump,” said Scott. “We need a business person. We need someone who is going to destroy ISIS. We need someone who is going to focus on jobs. And that’s what he’s going to do.”

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi also is scheduled to speak at the convention.

Floridians heading up to Cleveland for the event will have a jam-packed schedule, including breakfasts, tailgate parties and a reception.

The Republican Party of Florida released a rundown of events Friday morning. Delegates will be able to participate in a breakfast speaker series hosted by the state party and Speaker Designate Richard Corcoran. Speakers at the breakfasts include Frank Luntz, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Dick Morris, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Presidential hopeful Ben Carson is scheduled to attend a breakfast hosted by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

“With Florida being front-and-center as the largest swing state, we are excited to welcome these great speakers to the conversation of Making Florida Red Again and Making America Great Again,” said Blaise Ingoglia, chair of the Florida GOP and a state representative.

Adam Putnam says Chuck Clemons ‘clearly best choice’ in HD 21 race

Chuck Clemons has picked up the endorsement of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the three-way Republican primary for House District 21.

“I am proud to endorse my friend, Chuck Clemons, for the Florida House,” Putnam said. “Over the course of our 20-year friendship, I have always known him to be a steady and committed conservative with strong leadership skills. His professional experience and deep roots in the community clearly make him the best choice to serve the residents of District 21.”

Clemons is running against Republican businesswoman Wenda Lewis and pharmacist Tim Rogers in the primary race for HD 21, currently held by Republican Rep. Keith Perry, who is running for the District 8 seat in the Florida Senate.

“Commissioner Putnam is truly a distinguished Florida leader,” Clemons said. “I am honored to have his support, and I look forward to working with him to address Florida’s pressing challenges like creating more jobs and protecting the natural resources that are so vital to our state.”

Through the June 24 reporting period, the Santa Fe College administrator had about $93,000 in his campaign account, putting him behind Lewis’ $153,000 on hand, which includes $100,000 in loans. Rogers, the last GOP candidate to file, had about $7,300 on hand through the same date.

The HD 21 electorate includes a significant portion of Gainesville’s student population and has a strong Democratic advantage in voter registrations, though that advantage doesn’t show up at the polls.

Perry’s three House elections featured double-digit wins over Democrat Andrew Morey in 2012 and Jon Uman in 2014, and his successor will likely emerge from the Republican primary, though Democrat Marihelen Wheeler and a pair of write-in candidates are also running for the seat in 2016.

Wheeler had about $4,700 on hand through June 24, while Ryan Dyson and Richard Swilley, both of whom filed June 23, have yet to show any contributions for their campaigns.

Diane Roberts: Rick Scott’s breathtaking hypocrisy on water pollution

Rick Scott, our Trumpster-diving governor, has declared a state of emergency. He’s suddenly discovered Florida’s waters are choking in toxic algae, green as arsenic, and malodorous as a pile of rotting mullet.

Images of slime-covered sand, and fish gasping their last on closed beaches are appearing in print and on screens around the world. It’s not just another day in paradise.

Scott blames “the inaction and negligence of the federal government not making the needed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike,” the perpetually leaking earthwork that’s supposed to contain the noxious soup of sewage, fertilizer and Big Ag runoff that is Lake Okeechobee. South Florida has had a lot of rain, so the Corps has been trying to ease pressure on the dike by flushing a lot of noisome lake water out into the rest of Florida.

“Because the Obama administration has failed to act on this issue,” Scott said, “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to discharge millions of gallons of water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries resulting in the growth of blue-green algae which is now entering residential waterways in South Florida.”

Um, what? Scott has always demonstrated an impressively sociopathic talent for hypocrisy, but this is truly breathtaking.

The Corps could fix the dike tomorrow, but the water in the lake would still be infested with cyanobacteria. It would still contain 20 times the toxins deemed tolerable by the World Health Organization. It could still cause liver damage, severe rashes and respiratory distress. It would still be destroying the Everglades.

It would still smell, as one lady put it, “like death on a cracker.”

Why is this water so foul? Because Scott’s political clients have been allowed to pollute all they please, pumping untreated wastewater into the second-largest freshwater lake in the contiguous 48 states — a lake which also supplies drinking water for millions of Floridians.

Big Sugar — one of the biggest polluters — is a top contributor to Scott’s political committee “Let’s Get to Work.” Cleaning up the water would hit profits.

A little history: Back in 1998, the EPA gave states six years to develop “numeric,” i.e., measurable, standards for water quality. Florida used a “narrative” standard: if the fish ain’t floating belly-up, that water’s fine.

Florida ignored the 2004 deadline, and state officials keep pretending that court cases won by various citizens and environmental groups don’t mean polluters actually have to clean up their mess.

Actually, the state has recently made it easier for polluters to dump crap into Florida waters. Since Scott signed Big Ag’s comprehensive water bill into law in January this year, all polluters have to do is claim they’re following “best management practices.” And what does that mean? Why, whatever Big Ag says it means!

So the dirty water’s on the Florida Legislature. And on Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who sees any attempt to enforce the Clean Water Act in Florida as sinister federal overreach. And on Rick Scott.

When Gov. Charlie Crist left office in 2011, there was a deal in place for the state to buy 187,000 acres of US Sugar land which would begin restoring the natural flow of the Everglades south. The ’glades, a natural filter, would help clean up the water before it got in the rivers and estuaries.

Scott voided the agreement. He even opposed a much scaled-back purchase in 2015 that would have gone a little way to putting water where it needs to be. By then, US Sugar wasn’t keen on selling. The company mused that maybe they’d put a resort or two and a bunch of houses on the land instead. More profit in that than in Everglades restoration.

South Florida waters have been gunked-up with toxic algae on and off for years. Tourism is suffering; property values are tanking.

Scott has just noticed. If he’s going to run for the U.S. Senate in 2018, he needs to look like he cares about the environment. He also needs to take care of Big Shug.

Guess which one will win out?


Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University. Her latest book, “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America,” will be out in paperback in the fall.

Adam Putnam fundraising committee, Florida Grown, raised $218K in June

Florida Grown, the political committee that likely will fuel Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam‘s bid for higher office, posted more than $218,000 in contributions for June.

That’s up from about $185,000 in contributions in May.

Committees face a deadline for reporting their latest numbers on Friday. Putnam’s committee released its figures early on its own website.

The biggest contributor for June is Associated Industries of Florida PAC, which chipped in a healthy $100,000.

Other big givers include FCCI Services Inc., an insurance concern, and Realtors Political Advocacy Committee, with $25,000 each.

Political committees aren’t limited in how much they can accept, unlike candidates’ individual campaign accounts.

June records also show the committee spent $25,000 on a “sponsorship” with the Republican Party of Florida.

Florida Grown was “established by Putnam to help achieve his vision for Florida — a place where jobs are plentiful, quality education is accessible, and freedom and liberty flourish,” according to a news release.

The 41-year-old Putnam still has not confirmed his political plans after he is term-limited as agriculture commissioner in 2018.

Marco Rubio leads Carlos Beruff 71% to 7% in new AIF poll

Marco Rubio holds a 60-plus point lead over Carlos Beruff.

That’s according to a new Associated Industries of Florida poll of likely Republican primary voters. The survey — conducted June 27 and June 28, one week after Rubio announced he was running for re-election — found 71 percent of respondents said they would support Rubio in the primary.

Seven percent of voters said they would vote for Beruff, while 18 percent said they were still undecided.

Rubio announced last week he was running for a second term in the U.S. Senate, reversing a previous decision to return to private life when his term ended. The decision cleared the field, with Republicans Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Todd Wilcox all bowing out of the race.

Beruff, a Manatee County homebuilder who has poured a significant amount of his own wealth into the race already, said he would continue to run for the seat. He has said he is prepared to put another $10 million to $15 million more into the race.

Rubio has received the backing of several top Republicans in Florida, including Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, and former Gov. Jeb Bush. He’s also received support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Sen. Ted Cruz.

One top Republican who hasn’t thrown his support behind him? Gov. Rick Scott.

In a Facebook post last week, Scott stopped short of endorsing Beruff, but said the “Florida voters deserve the opportunity to consider his candidacy alongside Sen. Rubio and make their own decision.”

While the AIF polling memo notes Rubio’s entry into the race creates an entirely different field than just a few weeks ago, it also points out Rubio was leaps and bounds ahead of Republicans even before he got into the race.

When AIF conducted a similar survey in April, 50 percent of Republicans said they would support Rubio. The April survey found 5 percent of respondents would support Beruff, while 26 percent said they were undecided. Jolly was in second in the April survey by AIF, with 8 percent support.

The AIF poll is in line with another poll released this week. A survey conducted for News 13/Bay News 9 found 63 percent of Republicans would vote for Rubio in the Aug. 30 primary, while 11 percent said they planned to support Beruff. In that survey, 13 percent of respondents were undecided.

The most recent AIF poll surveyed 750 likely voters and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

Patrick Murphy gets endorsed by the Florida Police Benevolent Association

After enduring his worst week as a candidate since declaring he was running for the Senate over a year ago, Jupiter Rep. Patrick Murphy has received a nice boost in his campaign to succeed Marco Rubio in Washington, procuring the endorsement of the Florida Police Benevolent Association.

“The Florida PBA is proud to endorse Patrick Murphy because we know the he will stand with our police officers and first responders in the U.S. Senate,” said PBA President John Rivera. “Patrick is the leader that our officers need to ensure that they can continue keeping our communities safe. As the organization that advocates for Florida’s police officers, we trust Patrick Murphy to advocate for us.”

In 2014, the Florida PBA endorsed Democrat Charlie Crist for governor, but also supported the rest of the GOP-laden cabinet, backing AG Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in their bids for re-election.

“I’m proud to receive the endorsement of the brave men and women at the Florida PBA,” said Murphy in a statement supplied by his campaign. “Every day, our officers put their lives on the line to protect us and they deserve our full support. In the U.S. Senate, I will stand with our police officers and first responders to make sure they have the resources necessary to keep Florida safe. Our communities and families are safer and stronger because of their hard work, and I am humbled to have them standing with me in this campaign.”

Murphy unveiled his plan to reform the criminal justice system earlier this month in Hollywood at the Florida Democratic Party’s Leadership Blue Gala. Among those proposals are legislation mandating all police officers be equipped with body cameras (through a bill called the Police CAMERA Act, which would increase funding for states and local governments). Murphy also is supporting the TRUST (the Tracking Reputations Upgrades Society Trust) Act, which would measure public trust in law enforcement via the National Crime Victimization Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That proposed legislation (sponsored by Florida Democrat Corrine Brown) calls for areas where the level of public trust in the police force is problematically low; the U.S. attorney general would submit recommendations to improve confidence in law enforcement and address systemic problems before conflicts escalate.

Murphy is facing opponents Alan Grayson and Pam Keith in the Aug. 30 Democratic primary.

Tom Lee, Bill Galvano to remain powerful GOP voices in Senate

Two key Republicans will be returning to the Florida Senate in new districts and without opposition.

Bill Galvano of Bradenton and Tom Lee of Brandon were the only candidates to meet Friday’s noon filing deadline and thus have been assured of returning to Tallahassee.

Lee’s political future had seemed uncertain after court-ordered redistricting could have placed both him and Galvano in the newly drawn District 21, which covers parts of Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

Lee declined to run against Galvano, and after considering a run for the Hillsborough County Commission opted instead to move within the boundaries of the new District 20.

The move keeps two powerful GOP voices in Tallahassee.

Galvano is in line to become Senate President in 2019, provided Republicans keep their majority in that body. Lee served as the chair of the appropriations committee in the last session.

Galvano picked up high-profile help recently when Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam campaigned for him in Wimauma in southern Hillsborough. Galvano has worked closely with Putnam to attack citrus greening, which threatens the livelihood of the state’s citrus farmers.

He was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002, and then to the Senate in 2012. He served as Republican majority leader in 2014.

Lee initially was elected to the Senate in 1996 and was re-elected without opposition in 2000. Redistricting forced him to run again two years later, but he was again elected without opposition. In 2004, he served as the Senate president.

After losing a statewide election in 2006 to Alex Sink for chief financial officer, Lee left politics before returning in 2012.

“I just humbly look forward the privilege of serving West Central Florida in the Senate,” Lee said in a statement Friday. “When a public servant does a job between elections, the re-elections tend to take care of themselves.

“I represent everyone in our district, not just those in our party. Without a Facebook or Twitter account, I tend to rely on the old-fashioned way of doing things.”

Lee hopes to close on a piece of property within the boundaries of his new district by early next month.

In campaign filings with the state, Galvano listed his net worth at $2.064 million. Lee listed his net worth at $2.9 million.

Joe Henderson: Tom Lee’s tough, surprising choice

I’m a little surprised by Tom Lee’s decision to run for re-election to the state Senate.

Along with just about everyone else in the media and Florida politics, I’ve had lengthy chats with Lee about his future since a judge drew new district lines that essentially forced him to make a tough decision.

Because his current Brandon home now lies in a different district than the one Lee represents, he had three choices:

  • Challenge Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano if he wanted to keep his current seat. Lee ruled that out early.
  • Move within the newly drawn boundaries of District 20, which includes parts of Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties so that he could run for the Senate again.
  • Run for an at-large seat on the Hillsborough County Commission, where he would have been a heavy favorite.

It came down to options 2 or 3, and as William March of the Tampa Bay Times first reported, Lee chose No. 2.

Why that surprises me, a little, is because Lee talked to me at length about the lure of bringing his Tallahassee experience to his home county. He has young kids and being able to spend more time with them, especially on weekends, was appealing.

Plus, Lee is never shy about saying Tallahassee is where good governance goes to meet a painful end at the hands of lobbyists, special interests and agendas that have little to do with the overall good of Florida.

That’s one of the reasons Lee is not the most popular guy in the statewide GOP.

In the county, Lee’s impact would have been immense. As a resident of eastern Hillsborough, Lee would have given a much-need pragmatic voice to a part of the county that has been treated as a fresh hunting ground for runaway development. The result has been suffocating growth and traffic.

His entry into the race likely would have meant the end of Jim Norman’s attempt to return to public life as a county commissioner. It’s a definite boost to the political ambitions of Republican commission candidate Tim Schock.

But, statewide politics has real appeal too. The power to shape the future of the nation’s third-largest state can be irresistible. That’s the path he chose.

Interestingly, even if Lee wins he will have to run again in 2018.

A lot of things can change between now and then, starting with the races for governor (paging Adam Putnam, please report to the candidate’s booth) and cabinet posts. Lest we forget, Lee unsuccessfully challenged Alex Sink in 2006 to be the state’s chief financial officer.

Lee has been coy throughout the process that led to this decision and there is no reason to believe that won’t continue. For now, though, he has shown one of his cards. He will show the next one when he gets around to it.


Joe Henderson has had a 45-year career in newspapers, including the last nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. He has covered a large variety of things, primarily in sports but also hard news. The two intertwined in the decade-long search to bring Major League Baseball to the area. Henderson was also City Hall reporter for two years and covered all sides of the sales tax issue that ultimately led to the construction of Raymond James Stadium. He served as a full-time sports columnist for about 10 years before moving to the metro news columnist for the last 4 ½ years. Henderson has numerous local, state and national writing awards. He has been married to his wife, Elaine, for nearly 35 years and has two grown sons – Ben and Patrick.

Adam Putnam: Don’t fall for phony charities in wake of Orlando shooting

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is asking Floridians to do a little research before donating to any cause for victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando.

Before making a donation, he said in a Monday press release to check on a charity in the department’s “Gift Givers’ Guide” at

“Charitable organizations are required to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services prior to soliciting contributions in Florida, and those that raise $50,000 or more in the aftermath of natural disasters or other crises must submit specific documentation to the department,” a press release said.

“If any Floridians are considering charitable gifts in the wake of this tragedy, I encourage them to research the charitable organization on our website,” Putnam said.

Consumers can help protect themselves from charity-related scams, the release added, by:

  • Asking questions, such as:
    • “Who is the fundraiser and who will benefit from the donation?”
    • “How much of the contribution goes to the charity mentioned in the request?”
    • “How much of the donation goes toward administrative and fundraising expenses?”
  • Being wary of emotional appeals, and being suspicious of organizations with only vague plans for dispensing the funds.

The online Gift Givers’ Guide is here or you can call 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) to find a charity’s current registration status and financial information about the charity, including how much of a donation will go toward the individuals the charity intends to help versus operating expenses.

Officials also ask residents to report suspicious solicitations by also calling 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).

“As we all mourn the loss of these innocent lives, may we be here for each other as a family and provide support,” Putnam said.

Orlando shooter was licensed as armed security guard in Florida

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose office also handles security guard licenses and concealed carry permits, says the Orlando shooter held security guard licenses that allowed him to carry firearms.

Putnam spoke Monday to a group of reporters outside the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

The commissioner said Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce had a “D” license to work as a private “security officer,” and a “G” license that allowed him “to bear a firearm” statewide, the department’s website explains.

Mateen shot and killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando with an AR-15 style rifle before being killed by police early Sunday morning. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Amercian history, with more than 50 others seriously injured.

Law enforcement has said Mateen called 911 during his attack to profess allegiance to the Islamic State terror group. But Mateen’s father also has said his son was incensed by the sight of two men kissing during a recent visit to Miami.

As much as it could have, the system worked, Putnam seemed to suggest. Mateen was first licensed in 2007 and was renewed several times later.

The massacre will forever be “a dark stain in Florida’s history,” Putnam said. But he added all of Mateen’s various applications were “in order,” including his criminal background checks and mental health evaluations.

“There’s nothing in the record that would have disqualified this individual, a U.S. citizen with a clean criminal record,” he told reporters.

But Putnam declined to say whether the FBI had alerted his department of any concerns about Mateen over the last few years. “All of the normal safeguards were completed,” he said.

Putnam also declined to release any records on Mateen, saying they were “fairly rich with data” federal investigators still need to go through.

When asked whether the incident had changed his own views on guns, Putnam didn’t answer directly.

He said the shooting was a “painful reminder of how-U.S. born individuals, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, can harbor an ideology so dark that they’re capable of using the freedoms and liberties that this country awards all of our citizens for the darkest possible motives.”

And when asked to clarify if, in fact, he thought the system worked, Putnam didn’t answer.

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