Baxter Troutman campaign snarks opponents in Agriculture Commissioner race

Caldwell, Grimsley and Troutman

Former state Rep. Baxter Troutman reported raising $2.9 million by the end of February in his run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner.

The Winter Haven Republican still has $2.7 million in the bank.

In money collected, Troutman is ahead of his Republican primary opponents, and his campaign manager feels he is ahead in qualifications, dubbing both in a comment that they aren’t as qualified to serve the agriculture needs of the state.

State Sen. Denise Grimsley of Wauchula had $851,666 at the end of January and Florida Rep. Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers had $556,826. Under rules of the Florida Legislature, they were barred from collecting campaign funds when the legislature is in session.

Grimsley is a hospital administrator and manages the family citrus groves and Caldwell is a real estate appraiser, citing family roots in farming.

But Troutman campaign manager Carlo Fassi doesn’t think much of his candidate’s primary challengers’ qualifications.

“You can post pictures of yourself on a horse or in a citrus grove, but Baxter is the only one who grew up with dirt under his fingernails from the time he was a kid,” Fassi said. “He understands farmers and ranchers because he has been there and knows more about these hard-working people of Florida.”

Troutman, grandson of the late Citrus baron Ben Hill Griffin also owns an employment agency.

If campaign funds are considered a measure of electability, it might appear that no Democrat would have much of a chance in the general election. Both Thomas Clayton White Jr. of Tallahassee and Jeffrey Duane Porter of Cooper City reported collecting no money at all by the end of January. The third Democrat in the race, R. David Walker of Fort Lauderdale reported a war chest of $7,261.

Bill Rufty

Former Ledger of Lakeland columnist Bill Rufty is Central Florida political correspondent for SaintPetersBlog and Florida Politics. Rufty had been with the Ledger from 1985-2015, where, as political editor, he covered a wide range of beats, including local and state politics, the Lakeland City Commission, and the Florida Legislature. Ledger editor Lenore Devore said about Rufty’s 30-year career: “[He is] a man full of knowledge, a polling expert and a war history buff … who has a steel trap in his brain, remembering details most of us have long since forgotten.”

One comment

  • Harold Finch

    March 12, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Although a nice person, the money he has raised is his own money an is misleading in context of the campaign. He is going to try and buy the election 🙁

Comments are closed.


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