Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam so far is the only major 2018 Republican candidate for governor.
But with state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, considering gubernatorial bids, Putnam’s recent social media posts show he’s aggressively seeking to nail down crucial conservative support for a potential GOP primary.
When a Tampa Bay Times columnist last week accused Putnam of being a sellout to the National Rifle Association, it gave the Putnam campaign a Republican primary twofer: a chance to rip the liberal media and an opportunity to proclaim his support for the Second Amendment.
“What a surprise. The liberal media is attacking a conservative again. The Tampa Bay Times recently called me a sellout to the NRA. As someone who believes the Second Amendment is an inalienable right, I’ll wear that comment like a badge of honor. I’m a proud NRA Sellout. If you’re proud to be an NRA Sellout, too, sign the petition below!” said a post on Putnam’s campaign Facebook page.
Latvala responded Sunday on Twitter to Putnam’s “sellout” declaration.
“I will never sell out to anyone, anytime,” Latvala tweeted.
Over the weekend, Putnam went after the media again, using Twitter and Facebook to promote a petition to “Tell CNN to stop spreading Fake News!”
Latvala, who will be in Palm Beach County next week for a roundtable discussion on the state’s opioid crisis, is expected to announce later this month whether he’s running.
DeSantis, who’s also considering a run for attorney general, says he’ll decide by the fall whether he’s entering the governor’s race.
Corcoran has said he won’t decide on a gubernatorial bid until 2018.