U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who looks increasingly like the frontrunner in the Republican race for Governor, plans a Saturday morning meet and greet in downtown Jacksonville.
The event kicks off at 8:30 at the Local at 4578 San Jose Blvd.
A new poll has DeSantis leading the race by a 42 to 30 percent margin, an indication that as the pool of undecided voters becomes more shallow, DeSantis’ support deepens.
That survey confirms consultant reports of myriad internal polls that have shown a pro-DeSantis trend.
Putnam held a public event in Jacksonville late last week; however, attendance was down from previous Putnam stops, with only two incumbent politicians showing — a drop from previous events where Putnam had strong showings from the elected class.
Putnam, when asked if he worried that the campaign was slipping away, said “I wake up every day worried. I’m fighting to the bitter end.”
Meanwhile, DeSantis’ last visit to the Jacksonville area, in late June, happened just as momentum in the race was beginning to turn.
A combative DeSantis let loose with sharp comments about Putnam in the press availability: “[Putnam] has been running for office since he was 22 … has not had a career outside of politics, he inherited his money, he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple.”
“I’m somebody who was a blue-collar kid. I started making six dollars an hour. I worked myself. I got nothing handed to me,” DeSantis said.
“This guy is the consummate career politician, and he’s exactly what’s wrong with modern politics,” DeSantis added.
DeSantis expressed confidence in his strategy, even as polls showed him down double digits at the time.
“I appreciate that people spent a lot of money in April and May, which my opponents did attacking me,” DeSantis said.
“We have a liftoff from the President,” DeSantis added. “You’re going to see a very aggressive campaign when people are paying attention, and I think a couple of weeks from now you’re going to see a very different thing.”
DeSantis, at this writing, appears to be right.
Despite the Chamber of Commerce, dozens of sheriffs, and police unions backing Putnam, DeSantis — backed by Trump, roadtested on Fox News — appears to be making the sale with voters as they tune into the race.
The showing in Jacksonville Saturday morning will provide evidence on that point, one way or another.