Ron DeSantis

Hannity hearts DeSantis

An endorsement from President Donald Trump is probably the biggest coup for a Republican candidate trying to garner support from conservative, base voters in a statewide primary election.

But a resounding thumbs-up from conservative icon Sean Hannity is arguably a runner-up.

And that’s what U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis scored, with Hannity, who has a condo in Naples, telling the Palm Coast Republican, “You’re going to be my future governor, I hope,” during a radio interview.

DeSantis is facing up against state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose amassed a considerable campaign war chest as he serves up Florida OJ at his “Up and Adam” breakfasts throughout the state. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is toying with a run for governor, and former state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who is facing possible criminal charges after resigned last month amid investigations into sexual harassment, is still in the race.

Putnam’s made a noticeable pivot to the right as he gears up for the August primary. And we’re not usually keen about endorsements. But the support of Trump and Hannity could translate into considerable dosh and being onstage with Trump couldn’t hurt, either.

 

Did DeSantis just announce guv run?

Congressman Ron DeSantis is parlaying a tweet from President Donald Trump — which he’s calling an “endorsement” — into some earned media while he ponders a bid for governor.

Trump recently hailed DeSantis, a Republican from Palm Coast, on social medical as a “brilliant young leader” who would make a “GREAT governor” for the Sunshine State.

This morning, DeSantis’s campaign sent out a press release touting the congressman’s comments on Fox and Friends earlier today, where DeSantis played coy about his guv run and fanned the flames of speculation.

The campaign also provided a transcript, to make it easier for lazy journos who didn’t want to take the time to watch the brief clip, which runs just over a minute.

Asked about Trump’s praise, DeSantis said:

I can tell you that when that tweet went out, the amount of buzzing on my phone from calls and texts, I thought the phone was malfunctioning or there was something going on. When he tweets and he has 100 million people that are seeing that, it’s a really really big deal, so I really appreciate the kind words from the President.

He loves Florida, he’s been good for Florida, and I anticipate he’ll continue to do that. We’ll definitely come back on your show in the new year and be happy to break some news then.

But that wasn’t enough.

Leland Vittert, one of the show’s hosts, called DeSantis’s response “the non-denial, denial. Sort of the non-acceptance, acceptance.”

And DeSantis didn’t deny that.

“Leland, you can use your deductive reasoning skills, there’s nothing wrong with that,” he said.

UPDATE: Trump: DeSantis would make “great governor”

UPDATE: U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis’s campaign called the president’s tweet an endorsement.

“I’m grateful to have the President’s support and appreciate what he has done — from appointing great judges to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital to signing a pro-growth tax cut — to get our country back on track. As an Iraq veteran, I’m especially appreciative of his efforts to support our military and our veterans.”

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Palm Coast Republican long mulling a bid for governor, drew Twitter praise Friday from President Donald Trump, after the president arrived in Palm Beach County for the Christmas holiday.

“Congressman Ron DeSantis is a brilliant young leader, Yale and then Harvard Law, who would make a GREAT Governor of Florida. He loves our Country and is a true FIGHTER!,” Trump tweeted.

RonaldTrump_oDeSantis’ House re-election campaign did not immediately response to a request for comment.

The White House media pool reported that the tweet followed an appearance by DeSantis on FOX News, which was aired during the Air Force One flight.

“Fox News, which played on cabin TVs, featured a segment with Rep. DeSantis toward the end of the flight,” the report stated.

DeSantis, who is among a handful of Republican lawmakers to have openly pushed to curtail special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, earlier this month accompanied Trump to Pensacola for a campaign rally supporting Roy Moore’s bid for the U.S. Senate in Alabama.

Democratic consultant Steve Schale, alluding to Moore’s defeat on Dec. 12 to Democrat Doug Jones in the deep-red state, riffed that Trump’s support may not be all it’s worth.

Based on Trump recent success in picking candidates, this might be the kiss of death. Though given Trump’s incredibly thin skin & long memory, it’s not surprising,” Schale tweeted.

Among Republicans running to replace the term-limited Gov. Rick Scott in 2018 are Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the biggest name among the Republicans currently running to replace the term-limited Gov. Rick Scott in 2018.  

Former state Sen. Jack Latvala still had a campaign account open on Friday, two days after announcing his resignation from Legislature following a special master recommendation for a criminal probe into allegations that the Clearwater Republican had promised legislative favors for sex.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Republican from Land O’ Lakes, is also considering a run for governor.

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.