Please Clap: Adam Putnam Is Trying to Replicate Jeb Bush’s Failed “Shock and Awe” Presidential Campaign
In case you missed it, in a column published today the Tampa Bay Times’ Adam Smith writes that Adam Putnam’s gubernatorial campaign is beginning to mirror Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign — which relied heavily on big money and establishment support and failed “miserably.”
Putnam is waging a “safe” and “cautious” campaign and frequently delays taking stands on some of the hot button issues facing the state. Yet his GOP opponents — Ron DeSantis and Richard Corcoran — are even worse, completely avoiding going on the record with Florida reporters and sticking almost exclusively to defending Donald Trump (DeSantis) and “broad ideological issues” (Corcoran).
- That’s another way Putnam mirrors Gov. Bush. Bush’s so-called “shock and awe” presidential campaign strategy involved building a massive campaign war chest and relying on his policy smarts and deep ties to the GOP establishment to deliver him the nomination. Unfortunately for both, that safe strategy failed miserably for Bush. Policy substance should help with governing, but there is little evidence it wins Republican primaries today.
- It’s not that Putnam, 43, has a big, bold vision for Florida. He does not. His platform essentially is to keep the Sunshine State heading on its current track, but with much more emphasis on vocational education.
- For all his ease engaging with voters and reporters Putnam so far has been uncharacteristically cautious about talking to the press during the campaign or weighing in promptly on hot button issues — including the post-Parkland gun control legislation that he eventually opposed.
- His cautious strategy seems aimed more at avoiding losing the primary than aggressively running to win it.
- DeSantis so far has all but boycotted reporters who might ask him about Florida issues or holding public events where uninvited guests might hear him discuss Florida issues. Instead, the 39-year-old former Navy lawyer appears on Fox News multiple times a week to criticize the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
- Corcoran, 53, also is generally inaccessible. Befitting a lifelong political operative, he invariably wants to speak off the record to reporters before agreeing to what he is willing to be quoted on.
- He also can be passionate about policy, but his focus tends to be on broad ideological issues — more private sector competition for public schools, for instance, or fewer tax incentives to recruit businesses — than nuts and bolts governing.
Read the entire article here.