Adam Putnam

Putnam regular passenger on anti-NAFTA Trump train

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican running for governor, again lent support to President Donald Trump’s efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, the former congressman said the president’s agenda will create “a more even playing field for America’s farmers, ranchers and businesses.”

“As the U.S. moves into the second round of NAFTA negotiations on September 1, it is imperative that the Administration’s goal to seek a provision to address the plight of the producers of perishable and seasonal commodities be included in any agreement,” Putnam wrote.

On Sunday, Trump repeated in a tweet his threat to cancel the trade deal — which he calls the “worst trade deal ever made” — with Mexico and Canada, even as talks are in the early stages to improve the nearly 25-year-old agreement.

Trump a few minutes earlier tweeted “With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, me must have the wall Mexico will pay for it.”

“We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada.Both being very difficult,may have to terminate?” the president (@realDonaldTrump) tweeted.

“With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL. Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other,” another tweet proclaimed.

In April, Putnam sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, pleading with the Trump administration to investigate Mexico for unfair trade practices.

“I urge you to initiate an investigation into Mexico’s unfair trade practices, which have allowed Mexican producers of specialty crops to — in a matter of 20 years — become the dominant supplier of specialty crops into the U.S. market,” Putnam wrote in a letter dated April 19. “These unfair trade practices have resulted in the continued decline of domestic production of these crops, which play such an important role in our diets and ensure the proper nutrition and development of Americans of all ages.”

By Jim Turner.

Putnam’s 100 days on the trail: Busy Bee, shootouts and cortaditos

IMG_2034Eight visits to a North Florida Busy Bee, 2 “shotgun shootouts,” and downing 12 cortaditos in Miami are among the highlights of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s first 100 days on the campaign trail, according to a press release issued by his campaign staff.

Putnam, a Republican, jumped into the race for governor in May.

Since then, he’s been a busy bee, according to the numbers in the at-times tongue-in-cheek release, which include:

  • 12 “Up & Adam” Breakfasts
  • 11 County Republican functions
  • 2 Shotgun Shootouts
  • 8 stops to the Busy Bee, where I-10 meets I-75
  • 12 cortaditos downed by Adam in Miami
  • 1 oil change for Adam’s white pickup truck
  • 1 A/C repair visit to the Bartow headquarters
  • 100 glasses of Florida orange juice consumed by Adam
  • 343 cans of Coke Zero consumed by staff at Bartow headquarters
  • 3,044 popsicles distributed to young Floridians at parades
  • 1,700 volunteers signed up
  • 1 school field trip, 1 fifth grade graduation, 1 school play, 1 high school awards ceremony and 4 summer reading lists accomplished in the Putnam family

Putnam’s had the field to himself until recently — state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Republican from Clearwater, rolled out his campaign for governor with a three-city flyaround that kicked off in Hialeah on Wednesday.

No word yet on how many cortaditos Latvala consumed down South.

They’ll pass you by in the wink of a young girl’s eye

 Florida has “glory days” ahead for space exploration, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — and GOP governor’s mansion wannabe — predicted Tuesday.

Putnam made the rosy pitch to a space-friendly crowd at the Florida Chamber of Commerce‘s Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit.

“The golden age for space for Florida, (not) because of our legacy in space, but because of the private sector investment, our golden age is in front of us, not behind us,” Putnam said at the event, held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.

Pointing to an emerging billionaires’ space race between Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Putnam said residents on Florida’s Space Coast should expect hear the regular rumble of up to 60 launches a year.

More than that, Putnam says Florida will need skilled workers to handle the supply chain for businesses like Blue Origin, which plans to open a 750,000-square-foot rocket production facility south of Cape Canaveral by the end of the year. The company plans to start test launches from space leased at the cape (ouch!) by the end of the decade.

That’s where Florida’s military-friendly approach comes in, according to Putnam.

“It didn’t have to be in Florida,” Putnam said. “It could have been on the eastern shore of Maryland. It could have been Alaska. It could have been Texas. It could have been a lot of places. But Florida fought for it and won that increased investment. Military and defense spending in Florida is force multiplier for the private sector investments we’re seeing now.”

By Jim Turner.

Putnam hauls in cash but eats on the cheap ‘cuz he’s packing heat

20155766_10159004818580371_549381760493572209_nHow did Adam Putnam spend his July?

Apparently, doing the things you would expect from a candidate trying to position himself as a conservative GOP candidate running for governor, including a discount meal in the Panhandle because he’s got a license to carry a concealed weapon.

The result?

Putnam’s campaign reported Thursday that he’s raised $16.98 million through the end of last month, including nearly $1.3 million collected in July. The state agriculture commissioner has $12.3 million cash on hand through July, his campaign said.

Putnam’s fund-raising far outpaces his potential primary rivals, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, state Sen. Jack Latvala and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, who — along with their supporters — are stepping up their efforts.

Amanda Bevis, a spokeswoman for Putnam’s campaign, said the new report shows Putnam’s “finance operation continues to gain strength.”

“But, more importantly, our grassroots momentum is gaining speed,” Bevis said. “Floridians are passionate about Adam Putnam’s willingness to fight for our freedoms and his ability to bring common sense, business smarts to our state’s capital.”

Putnam’s July campaign itinerary included fairly typical events, including attending the state’s “largest Independence Day” parade in Brandon, two GOP barbecues, two “Up and Adam” breakfasts, three fire house visits, two stops at Florida National Guard facilities and a clay shoot.

And as a sign he is not shying away from the criticism he invoked after declaring himself a “proud NRA sellout,” Putnam highlighted the fact that he had “concealed carry Wednesday” luncheon at the “Just the Cook” restaurant in Panama City, where concealed weapons licensees get a 25 percent discount.

“You pack the heat/We cook the meat,” a sign at the rustic facility, which is located in a marina, says. In a Facebook along with a photo of the sign, Putnam wrote: “My kind of place.”

Putnam is in charge of Florida’s concealed weapons licensing program, which has blossomed under his leadership.

Other July highlights cited by his campaign include Putnam’s visit to the Kennedy Space Center with Vice President Mike Pence. He was also endorsed by the Florida Associated Builders and Contractors, who represent some 2,500 small businesses in the state.

By Lloyd Dunkelberger.

Putnam draws fire for ‘pandering’ to the right over guns & ‘fake news’

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam continued a pivot to the right over the weekend, channeling what appeared to be the GOP gubernatorial candidate’s inner Trump even as Putnam drew fire from fellow Republicans for what one called “pandering to the NRA.”

Putnam tweeted a link Saturday to an online petition, launched by his campaign, condemning CNN for “fake news.”

“Aren’t you tired of the liberals taking fake news to new extremes? I am. Sign the petition to stop CNN,” Putnam tweeted on Saturday.

There’s no evidence that the news network has aired anything specifically about Putnam or the Florida Republican governor’s primary that could have raised Putnam’s ire.

Instead, the slam on CNN appears to be an attempt by Putnam to endear himself with Republican base voters and supporters of President Donald Trump, who collectively have been harsh and frequent critics of the news network.

It’s also a sign that Putnam, who has the highest name recognition in the gubernatorial field and has some $11 million in unspent campaign cash, is attempting to boost his conservative creds in anticipation of potential attacks next year from other GOP candidates who are almost certain to question Putnam’s record in Congress and as a two-term Cabinet member.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, two prominent conservative Republicans, are raising money and have expressed an interest in joining the race to replace Gov. Rick Scott, who is leaving office because of term limits.

Moderate Republicans — including Sen. Jack Latvala, who’s mulling a run for governor — piled onto Putnam over the weekend.

The criticism came in reaction to a tweet from Putnam last week, who was responding to a column by Daniel Ruth of The Tampa Bay Times.

“The liberal media recently called me a sellout to the NRA. I’m a proud #NRASellout!” —Putnam (@adamputnam), tweeted.

Latvala, the powerful Senate budget chief who’s expected to make an announcement on Aug. 16 regarding a bid for governor, on Sunday took a Twitter shot at Putnam.

“I will never sell out to anyone, anytime,” Latvala tweeted, who posted a link to a Pensacola News Journal editorial critical of Putnam.

“This may be perfectly predictable behavior from a Republican vying to become Florida’s next governor. But it’s hardly a declaration of leadership or individualism,” the editorial stated.

Former Rep. Ray Pilon, a Sarasota Republican, joined in the Twitter chorus Monday morning.

“@adamputnam can’t tell you how shocked and disappointed I am in your pandering to the NRA and I am a lifetime member,” Pilon (@PilonForFlorida) tweeted.

Posted by Lloyd Dunkelberger and Jim Turner.

Motion in the ocean — Putnam, DeSantis at Lobsterfest

More than claws may be cracked when two potential Republican gubernatorial rivals show up at the Lobsterfest Dinner hosted by the Palm Beach County Republican Party next month.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, an announced candidate, and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Flagler County congressman who is considering a run, are scheduled to appear at the Aug. 17 event, which will be held at the tony Polo Club in Boca Raton. The GOP club is billing the dinner as the “premiere political event” of the summer.

lobsterfest

Putnam is the frontrunner in the race to succeed Gov. Rick Scott, having amassed more than $11.6 million in unspent money through the end of last month. But supporters of DeSantis have started a political committee that could aid his bid, reporting $943,000 in cash.

Although billed by the Palm Beach Republicans as the “premiere political event” of the summer, several other potential GOP contenders for governor are not listed as attendees at this point, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate budget chief Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is supposed to announce whether he intends to join the gubernatorial fray on Aug. 16 (the day before the lobster event).

But with conservative political activist James O’Keefe, head of the Project Veritas group, as the guest speaker, the lobster dinner presents a perfectly pitched backdrop for a potential DeSantis-Putnam showdown, with the candidates maneuvering to win the backing of the most conservative voters in their party.

Also scheduled to appear at the event are two other prominent Republican leaders, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast. The $145 tickets can be obtained at www.lobsterfest.gop.

Posted by Lloyd Dunkelberger.