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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Donations continue to pile up for expected 2018 GOP contender for governor

The man expected to be a leading contender for governor in 2018, has a $5 million head start on potential challengers thanks to some of Florida biggest industries.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican from Polk County, raised more than $200,000 in June for a political action committee he controls called Florida Grown PC, new campaign finance reports show. That helped Putnam surpass $5 million raised in the political committee since it was created in February 2015. After spending $1.4 million, Putnam has more than $3.7 million in the committee.

Putnam has not announced for governor, but is widely considered a top challenger for the post when Scott’s term ends in 2018. Scott cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Asked earlier this year why he’s raising so much money in the fund, Putnam said it was to “advance the conservative causes” in Florida.

Putnam is in his second term as Florida’s elected Agriculture Commissioner. Prior to that he spent 10 years in Congress representing parts of Polk and Hillsborough counties.

Putnam’s committee is the second most prolific fundraising committee of its type affiliated with a politician. Only Scott’s Let’s Get to Work Committee has raised more, collecting $6.5 million since the start of 2015 and spending $4.9 million, according to Florida Division of Elections records. Like Putnam, Scott has not said if he is running for another office, though there has been speculation he could make a run for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, in 2018.

Associated Industries of Florida, a trade group that lobbies for businesses before the Legislature and governor, has been by far the biggest supporter of Florida Grown. AIF gave $350,000 to Putnam’s committee since the start of 2015 including another $100,000 check just 11 days ago. And a political action committee affiliated with it, The Voice of Florida Business, has donated $400,000 since the start of 2015.

The next biggest supporter of Putnam has been Florida Jobs PAC, a committee associated with the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Florida Jobs PAC has given Putnam’s committee $325,000, including $110,000 just since May 20.

Here are the top 10 donors to Putnam’s Florida Grown PC since February 2015

$400,000 - The Voice of Florida Business
$325,000 - AIF PAC
$325,000 - Florida Jobs PAC
$256,275 - Florida Power & Light
$150,746 - Florida Phosphate Political Committee
$125,000 - Disney Worldwide Services Inc
$125,000 - FCCI Services Inc
$110,000 - Publix
$110,000 - US Sugar Corporation
$110,000 - Duke Energy


[Last modified: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 2:03pm]


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