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Putnam Agonistes: The Struggle is Real

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Even Some Supporters are Beginning to Question Whether Adam Putnam is "Ready for the Big Leagues"

Adam Putnam's campaign for governor is threatened by a clear and present danger: Adam Putnam himself.

The candidate's long career in Washington, his "proud NRA sellout" self-own, and his clear effort to out-Trump Ron DeSantis are haunting his campaign and doing serious damage to the man once seen as the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination. The Orlando Sentinel today reported that Putnam and DeSantis' strategy "to out-Donald Trump each other in their anti-immigration rhetoric" is worrying some Putnam supporters like Rep. Bob Cortes. Cortes told the Sentinel that Hispanic voters are "probably not going to be a huge factor in the primary, but they're definitely a huge factor in the general and don't wait until after the primary to reach out to them." And it's not just Putnam's race to the right that's causing problems for him — his life-long record of keeping "his deep-pocketed friends happy," as the Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen put it, could make even Republicans uneasy.

As the Tampa Bay Times' Adam Smith wrote, Putnam "has not had a tough race in two decades, and there is valid evidence to wonder if he's ready for the big leagues."

Miami Herald: Carl Hiassen: Putnam keeps his deep-pocketed friends happy

  • Divisive, Misleading Ads: "The Republican agricultural commissioner promises to do more to prioritize vocational training, saying, ‘College is not the only path to success and it's OK to say it.'Actually, lots of people in both parties have been saying it for a long time. College isn't for everybody, and — please tell us, Adam — who said it was?"
  • Terrible Record on Student Debt: "Putnam's sudden concern about predatory student-loan practices is especially curious. As a young U.S. congressman, he was one of only 71 representatives who in 2007 voted against the College Student Relief Act, which aimed to cut the interest rates on student loans."
  • Hypocrisy: "‘Today, liberal elites look down on people who work with their hands.' First of all, many of the folks that Putnam wants to deport (or keep out) of the country work with their hands, and the literal fruits of that hard work are displayed in the produce section of your local Publix, Winn-Dixie or any grocery store. […] Second, many American laborers who ‘work with their hands' are paid minimum wage. Guess who was one of only 82 House Republicans who voted against raising the minimum wage in 2007?"
  • Putnam's Inflated Biography: "He's selling himself hard as a fifth-generation rancher and citrus farmer, but it's been awhile since he picked much fruit. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1995 and the following year got elected to the state House at the ripe old age of 22."

Sun Sentinel: Editorial: Florida's campaign swamp is wider and deeper than Publix

  • "Fifteen months ago, a television station reported that seven Publix Stores in the Tampa Bay area had failed the department's health inspections over issues such as rodent control and safe storage of meat. A day later, Putnam purged the inspections from his department's website and got rid of the pass/fail grading system. Now, ‘re-inspection required' is the worst you'll read about any store he oversees. At the time, Publix had given $160,000 to Florida Grown. The obvious favor to a major donor smells like rotten potatoes."

Tampa Bay Times: Loser of the Week: Adam Putnam

  • "The agriculture commissioner has not had a tough race in two decades, and there is valid evidence to wonder if he's ready for the big leagues. Last week he had to cancel a fundraising reception at the home of a supporter who had once been videotaped repeatedly shooting two pet huskies who entered a cow pasture. A quick Google search of the fellow's name would have saved a big distraction, and a dash of common sense would have prevented team Putnam from dismissing the dog shooting as no biggie, as the campaign did initially."

Florida Politico Playbook: Putnam dogged by ‘sellout' self-own

  • "Sellout Costs — If you work in politics, this should be easy: Don't sell out. And try not to call yourself a "sellout" — especially if you're running statewide like Adam Putnam, gubernatorial candidate and state agriculture commissioner. But Putnam has a GOP primary to win. So he defined himself as a 'proud NRA sellout' on July 25th. Months later, the Parkland massacre happened. And the "proud NRA sellout" was less proud. He fell silent and ducked questions as legislators passed limited gun control. Now the nickname is back in the news and it's unexpectedly bedeviling a contributor, Publix."

Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

  • "There will be a general election in November. Being a proud NRA sellout, dismissing the value of higher education, dividing Floridians and schmoozing with a dog shooter is not the road to the Governor's Mansion."

Pensacola News Journal: Marlette: Putnam and the puppy shooter?!

  • "About the only good news in all this is that both dogs, Raley (who took four bullets) and Hoochie (who took three), survived. Hoochie lost an eye. But Adam Putnam's gubernatorial campaign might not fare as well as the dogs did if these are the type of political supporters he's accustomed to hanging out with."

Florida Politics: Can Adam Putnam stop shooting himself in the foot?

  • "Yet, where it stands now, there's never been more doubt about whether Adam Putnam can win his party's nomination, much less the general election in November. It seems like just as he is gathering momentum, his campaign does something to trip over itself, as it did by scheduling a fundraiser at the home of a man videotaped in 2008 shooting two dogs. Putnam eventually canceled the event, but not after losing another news cycle. The hard truth is he never fully recovered from the cringe-worthy moment when he described himself as an "NRA sellout." And that was before the Parkland school shooting. It's become so bad for Putnam, even his hometown allies atPublix had to promise to stop contributing to him. Putnam's saving grace? There's still time to right the ship. Maybe."