One of the Republicans running for Agriculture Commissioner is stepping out of the race and throwing his support behind state Rep. Matt Caldwell in the GOP primary to replace termed-out Adam Putnam.
As reported by the Central Florida Post, Orlando businessman Paul Paulson decided to call it quits this week and said he was asking supporters to “get behind Matt Caldwell, and do whatever you can to help him become our next Commissioner.”
He was the fourth-place candidate in fundraising, even accounting for the $642,000 he put into the campaign through loans which he will mostly get back.
“I am honored to receive Paul Paulson’s endorsement in our bid for Commissioner of Agriculture. As a candidate, Paul has been incredibly effective building lasting relationships with grassroots Conservatives, rural Floridians, and leaders across the agricultural community. With hard work and God’s blessing, we will continue to earn the support of voters across the state and our campaign will be successful,” Caldwell said.
The move leaves Caldwell in a three-way primary to take over for Putnam along with state Sen. Denise Grimsley and former state Rep. Baxter Troutman.
All three have raised substantial sums for their campaigns, though Troutman leads with more than $2.5 million on hand, the vast majority from his own pockets.
Grimsley is not far behind with $1.8 million in total fundraising – $690,000 through the campaign and $924,500 through her Saving Florida’s Heartland committee – and she has about $872,000 of that money on hand.
Caldwell, who is terms out in HD 79 in 2018, comes in third with total fundraising measuring in at $1.25 million through his campaign and committee, Friends of Matt Caldwell. September saw the accounts take in $10,275 and $5,000, respectively.