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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

$1.3-million behind Putnam, Dem. opponent still has hope



RIVERVIEW -- U.S. House of Representatives candidate Doug Tudor says he's not a viable opponent to Adam Putnam, an incumbent and the No. 3 Republican in the House, but he's getting there.

Tudor, a Democrat, is the only person standing between Putnam and his third term representing District 12 in Washington, D.C.

Tudor spends about seven hours each day in his Riverview house, calling friends and local Democrats to ask for money. He's gone to union meetings, and he'll be at a Lakeland fundraiser tonight for Morgan Bentley, a Democrat running for a seat in the Florida Senate. Tudor hopes to meet people there interested in helping him beat Putnam.

But he's still about $1.3-million behind.

Tudor has received about $25,000 from individuals, through the end of June, Federal Elections Commission records show. He's also pulled a $25,000 loan, a strain that comes on top of his February retirement from the U.S. Navy. He's currently unemployed.

Putnam has raised almost $1.4-million, according to records filed this month.

Tudor knows he'll never match Putnam in campaign funds. He can't, he said. And even if he did, he's afraid Putnam could put thousands into his own campaign. Last year, Putnam made between $100,000 and $1-million from his family's business, financial disclosure records show. His family owns Putnam Groves, a cattle and citrus company in Polk County.

Tudor hopes to make a quarter million -- enough to show he's a viable candidate, he said. He may be the underdog, but Tudor likens himself to David and Putnam to Goliath.

"If there's any craziness in me, it's because I have hope," he said.

Putnam hasn't spent time campaigning yet, his senior advisor, Keith Rupp, said. He's been working in Washington, D.C., but he has a staff that works year-round to raise money for his re-election, Rupp said.

Neither candidate has an opponent in the primary election.

-- Jessica Vander Velde, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:31am]


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