Week In Review: Following Trump, Republican Gubernatorial Candidates “Veer Far Right”
The GOP gubernatorial primary continues to be dominated by one person: Donald Trump.
Trump is dragging all three candidates further and further right. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, the Republican candidates have “been transformed by the ‘BUILD THE WALL!’ orthodoxy of President Donald Trump’s nationalist movement.” In the past week alone, Ron DeSantis announced that Trump would campaign for him soon. And the New York Times reported that in Miami, Adam Putnam voiced support for “Trump’s hard line on trade, even though it may result in retributive tariffs from China on Florida citrus and other crops.”
Loyalty to the President has become a litmus test for the GOP base, with one Palm Beach pro-Trump group even going as far as to block Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran from speaking to them because they don’t have the President’s endorsement. That may be why DeSantis has made touting Trump’s endorsement the central (and only message) behind his candidacy. Months into his campaign, DeSantis still refuses to take questions from voters or reporters in public and this weekend did not attend a March for Our Lives town hall in Jacksonville. That refusal to engage with Floridians led the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith to name DeSantis the “Loser of the Week” for running “the most cynical and lily-livered campaign Florida has seen.”
For Putnam, the focus on Trump appears to be an effort to hide the fact that he has spent decades as a career politician in Washington and Tallahassee and has a record that is toxic in Trump’s GOP. In the past week alone, it was reported that the land deal that Putnam voted against border security measures in Congress and that the shady land deal that netted the Putnam family millions was referred to AG Pam Bondi’s office for investigation.
THE TRUMPIFICATION OF THE GOP PRIMARY:
“DeSantis’ GOP primary rivals — Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and likely candidate Richard Corcoran, the speaker of the Florida House — won’t get a similar audience with Trump backers, Palm Beach County Trump Club Vice President Larry Snowden said. “Donald Trump has endorsed Ron DeSantis and we are only inviting that endorsee to speak at our club,” Snowden said.”
“One Republican who has witnessed this metamorphosis over the past few years, former House Speaker Will Weatherford, said the lurch to the right on immigration is troubling. While Republicans have always been conservative on immigration issues, the messaging has changed, he said.”
“Despite Trump’s Twitter praise, other Republican candidates and likely candidates have continued to tether themselves to Trump, who remains very popular with Florida GOP primary voters.”
PUTNAM GOES FULL TRUMP AS HIS ESTABLISHMENT RECORD CONTINUES TO HAUNT HIM: