Thursday evening saw Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam address around 400 people at a ranch deep on Jacksonville’s Westside.
The speech was familiar, by and large, though a new phrasing crept in: a reference to “corruption and predation and harassment.”
Putnam didn’t elaborate on those themes on the mic, even as his remarks came just hours after Gov. Rick Scott deemed scandal-scarred Sen. Jack Latvala a “distraction.”
“It is obvious that Senator Latvala remaining in the Senate is a distraction. It seems that everyone in Tallahassee is talking about this and not how to make Florida better … As I have said all along, if these allegations are true, he must resign immediately,” Scott said.
We asked Putnam for his take, and it very much aligns with that of the Governor.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the legislative business has slowed to a crawl as they’ve struggled to deal with multiple complaints. And no woman should have to endure the type of treatment that has been alleged in this situation. And if it’s true, he needs to go,” Putnam told Florida Politics.
A month ago, as the first reportage of the charges against Latvala — still an opponent in the Gubernatorial race, even as at least one regional campaign staffer staff has been let go — broke, Putnam was reluctant to address them.
Since then, more particulars have come out, including one of Latvala’s accusers making her claims public. The issue has not gone away, and the investigation of Latvala churns on even as the Legislative Session nears commencement.
Putnam, the clear frontrunner on the Republican side of the Governor’s race, is not making Latvala’s travails the focus of his stump speech.
However, it’s clear that he’s become more comfortable discussing Latvala’s situation since news of it broke at the end of October.
And should the matter linger as an active issue into December and beyond, expect Putnam and others to be ever more direct in their takes.