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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Insider Poll: Adam Putnam as the out of step Jeb Bush of 2018?



The latest Florida Insider Poll of more than 180 Florida politicos included more than 180 participants, and most know that we should expect the unexpected in Florida's jam-packed 2018 election cycle. Asked whether they expect Donald Trump to be a help or drag on the GOP ticket, 58 percent of the mostly Republican group said drag and 42 percent said help. 

More results here

To enourage frank assassements, we allow Florida Insiders to vote and comment anononymously. Here's what they had to say about that and the 2018 primaries for governor:

R: Adam Putnam is the future of Republicans in Florida.  Philip Levine would be a tough general election candidate because of his pro-business record but it is hard for him to beat Graham in a primary.  Graham has a very thin record and can not beat Putnam despite what will probably be a hard year for Republicans because of Trump.

R:In two years Republicans will see the fruits of governing as conservatives - Trump and Corcoran. Putnam's less than stellar conservative credentials will make him the Charlie Crist/Chris Christie of 2018

R: How can you predict if Trump will help or hurt the GOP ticket in 18, when you can't predict what he's going to do in the next 30 seconds?

NPA/Other: John Morgan?  With the Trump era, all bets and predictions are off

D: Gillum could surprise everyone 

R: If everything becomes right with the world and the country, under Donald Trump's leadership, then nobody will care that he communicates like a Neanderthal.  If he keeps up the silly Twitter wars, but the economy and world doesn't improve, then his behavior will get old and he will become a drag on the Republican Party.

R: We are in a new era every cycle forever now. Nothing historical matters again. 

R: It is been a long time, that as a Republican, I have been as excited at the possibility of a statewide candidate as I am about Adam Putnam.

D: I expect the Trump administration to be messy, and D.C. Republicans' attempts to eviscerate Obamacare (and possibly Medicare) will be problematic for the party. That said, Democrats have a bigger problem: their voters have shown themselves to be far less willing to vote for candidates they aren't that excited about than Republicans are, even when Republicans outright dislike their candidates -- especially during midterms. If Dems can't turn that around, they're sunk.

R: Seeing more Florida GOP'ers in DC will help with the Florida Republican brand and help capitalize on fundraising efforts.

D: Dems can't keep doing the same things. Odds already against us, so time to go young, exciting, and smart with Andrew Gillum.

NPA/Other: The president's party almost always loses some seats in the midterm two years after first election. However I think it is slightly more likely than not that Trump will surprise a lot of people and will not be much of a drag and possibly actually be a small help. Part of this is because the bar is set so low for Trump in terms of expectations. Part is because he continues to be underestimated by many. But if he manages to be modestly competent it will seem like he is doing a great job. Of course he could still be a disaster and Democrats could make huge gains. I put the odds at about 51-49 in favor of modestly competent.

R: The Trump factor will drive 2018.  If the nation feels improvement, the GOP will be hard to beat off cycle.  If the D.C. GOP screws it up, and they are more than capable of screwing it up by getting on social issues, there will be a democrat in the Governors mansion.

D: Donald Trump today (Wed) why he will be a drag. Even Marco Rubio was aggressively questioning Trump on many fronts. 

R: Don't underestimate Levine in the primary. Anyone who can write a ten million dollar check will instantly have twice as much money as anyone in the democratic primary. And he is a better communicator than all of them....Love Gillum for LG pick. ... On the republican side the field is not yet settled. If 2016 taught us anything it is that outsiders are the new insiders - at least in terms of the pick of the voters. Someone unknown and wealthy will emerge and have a major impact. 

D: Donald Trumps impact on state elections will be something to watch.  No doubt he will wade in to elections at any level - personally (via twitter). 

NPA/Other: John Morgan is the closest thing out there on the state level to Trump; if there's going to continue to be a spirit of disruption in electoral politics Morgan is the disruptive force of '18. If he doesn't run, I'm just not sure Corcoran's anti-lobbyist policies will be viewed as disruptive enough to make him the outsider to take down Adam Putnam, who is a great establishment candidate. I don't know Mike Fernandez except by reputation but his is the only name that comes to mind now as an R disruptor. ... Honestly, I don't know if President Trump is a drag or help in FL in 18. 

D: I think we're all still suffering from a political prediction hangover. I reserve the right to change all my answers once I sober up.

R: If President-Elect Trump works with the Republican controlled Congress and has successful 2 years on emphasizing trade reform, inner city revitalization, and infrastructure his impact will be unchallengeable. 

R: Given what happened in 2016, I don't think that conventional wisdom will be of much use.  Voters are looking for something new and different.

As for Trump, his impact on Republicans will depend on his success as president.  If the economy is good, if he builds the wall, if he has a suitable replacement for ObamCare, Republicans may benefit.  If none of the above happens, Dems may benefit in spur of their inept efforts.

NPA/Other: Although Trump will drag down the ticket, the democrat's ineptitude in statewide executive branch races will ultimately save the GOP. The democrats lack a coordinated campaign plan, fundraising prowess, message discipline, and any real campaign talent. It was like that when I was there 2005-2009 and it has only gotten worse. 

D: Why does anybody believe the Republican primary voter of Florida would ever nominate an establishment candidate.

R: This is Adam Putnam's nomination to lose.  Corcoran is known only in Tallahassee and it won't matter how many state reps endorse him (see Jeb's candidacy as an example).  BUT there's still a chance some multi millionaire comes out of nowhere to go for the Republican nomination.  Graham will likely get the Dem nomination, as the other's don't really have state level name id (unless John Morgan were to run).  Trump will likely be a drag on the ticket simply because most President's drag down their ticket in the off years as the public seeks change from policy implementations at the national level that they don't like where they exercise their votes on the state level (see 2006, 2010 and 2014).  Will that drag be enough for a Democrat to win the Florida governorship in an off year cycle?  Probably not.  

D: In your introduction you point out that a year before the election everything that came to pass wasn't predicted a year in advance. It wouldn't surprise me it that situation doesn't repeat itself. We are in a new unpredictable political environment.

R: The self funding outsider, successful in business and tired of government stupidity, will be a pattern repeated.

R:Adam Putnam is running the 'Jeb Bush for President' in his quest to fulfill a lifetime dream to be governor. He's earnest and means well, but it's hard to imagine his establishment campaign resonating with the restless GOP electorate that propelled Rick Scott and Donald J. Trump to victory. 

R: If Trump is even half successful on delivering on his campaign promises/statements  in the next two years.. HIs support/opposition to any Florida( or state candidates in those states he won in 2016) candidate will be  monumental!! 

R: D T  is the wildest of any political wild card I have witnessed in the last 50 years ...and if his performance during the transition is any indicator his adept playing of the Trump card is truly masterful...

D: I'm a Democrat but it's getting harder and harder to stay a Democrat.  It's embarrassing to be associated with what the Democrat party has become. 

R: There is at least one unannounced candidate that could make it a real race for Governor.

R: President - Elect Trump will put together a coalition of centrists from both parties to advance his infrastructure program.   This will spur economic growth and recovery.  The extreme factions in both parties will continue to be discontent, but Trump's popularity will grow. 

D: Hard to weigh in on the Dems when they are so hapless in Florida in off-years, with or without a Trump drag.

R: John Morgan will beat any Democrat in a primary and Republicans take him lightly at their own peril.  John Morgan is the Democrat version of Trump; well-known, out-spoken, provocative, Twitter crazy - only difference is he is a heavy drinker so Twitter should be even better.

R: Nelson retires. Too early to say if Trump helps or drags although typically sitting Pres in midterm is a drag.  If he starts process of building wall, bringing jobs back/keeping them here, calls out wasteful spending, he can help in key states.

R: I think Republican primary voters will look for a respected, strong principled leader for governor. ... A man who is not business-as usual with lobbyists, unafraid to take on the status quo or establishment on key issues such as education and illegal immigration. If we don't get e-verify passed soon in FL our culture will mimic the chaos in California. Florida voters will prefer a strong leader over someone who thinks it's their  turn.

NPA/Other: Fully expect continued  bleak results for hapless Ds as the traditional higher turnout of Rs in off-year statewide elections keeps Fla. in firm GOP control. 

R: I've gotten to the point to expect the unexpected.

R: Adam Putnam may have a Jeb halo effect problem.  Early front runner, heir apparent by establishment, but fades while yet to be known gov candidate emerges.

D: Trump's base could be galvanized in 2018 to cement his gains and in an off-year election Democratic turnout tends to dip. It is possible however that the Trump Presidency could create an energy on the left that has been lacking the last two election cycles. 

R: If Trump can at least appear to be keeping his campaign promises, the way he has embraced the GOP with his Chief of Staff pick and others will set him up to be a huge help in 2018. If he flails around, so will the GOP. 

R: For the next 4 years, follow  the words of Handel in his Messiah---The Trumpet shall sound, and the Dead shall be Raised!!!

D: For the first non-presidential election cycle in more than a decade, the national political atmosphere in 2018 will probably favor Democrats. That possibility is why Florida Democrats need to recruit strong, authentic candidates with wide appeal for statewide, legislative, and local offices.  U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is a proven winner. And while a candidate who matches that description -- Gwen Graham -- will almost certainly be running for governor, Democrats must also find Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, and Agriculture Commissioner candidates who can take advantage of the first open seat Cabinet opportunities in a favorable year since 2006. If Democrats have a strong team at the top of the ticket, they will enhance the chances of down-ballot success. 

D: So much of 2018 is dependent on Trump, and by overreading his mandate, he appears to be not learning the lesson of Obama, and like Pelosi, Congressional Republicans won't be able to help themselves.  This sets up the perfect storm for backlash. ... Putnam's problem: he's an eminently reasonable guy running in a whacked party primary.  I have to think some wealthy outsider Republican is gonna pull out the Rick Scott playbook and create all kinds of problems for Putnam.

D: Trump starts off unpopular in FL, and is likely to remain there in 2 years,  However, as the 2006 Crist win shows, Democrats can't count on a blue wave.  They need a strong candidate to go against a better-funded GOP candidate....Gwen Graham is a perfect mix of left-leaning centrism and the personal charm that made her father a legend in the state.  Her biggest obstacle in the primary is the left flank due to her moderate voting record.   She will need a well known leftist for the LG slot once if gets through the primary.

R: If the economy continues to improve with no national security concerns, Trump won't have a substantial impact on Florida ticket

D: Even in a midterm year of the party of the president like in 2006 Florida is so red the Republican has massive advantages that the Democrats won't be able to overcome.

D: Hopefully you do not keep score.  Nobody has a clue who will be Democratic nominee.  

D: John Morgan will run and win the democratic nomination for governor

D: My predictions are based on a belief that the  new President will surprise us in a positive way which will result in the successful candidates in 2018 being those who reflect the less establishment views. If the more popular view among Democrats (that he will be a disaster) my predictions will be totally wrong, the establishment candidate of both parties will prevail.

R: Dem field is weak. Buckhorn has a better base. Graham is counting on her Dad who is not known by majority of people. Gillum is a weak mayor in a small media market.

R: President Trump may be a mixed bag to the GOP.  He will help by dedicating his efforts to a fiscally conservative government and a strong military and border. The big "but" is that he also will continue - at least for a time if his first press conference is any indication- to unnecessarily shake things up. Republicans hope he grows in maturity with the press and will try to check his ego at the door of the White House. He should let others take on petty squabbles as his following is massive and social media is a viable source....Similarly, Mr. Corcoran should take the same advise in terms of ego. Most Floridians know nothing or very little of him. It would seem he aims to change that during his Speaker tenure for his own political ambitions. Adam Putnam is a true public servant and deserves to run for governor. He alone is uniquely prepared to be our next governor. The Speaker's ambitions will split the Party at a time we do not need any more controversy. Corcoran may have had a shot if Rubio had won his bid for the Presidency, even though he would still be undeserving. 2016 was the most bloody and destructive political year ever to the GOP. I hope he reconsiders and gives Adam Putnam a clear playing field so that Florida can heal our GOP and continue to prosper and grow under the incredible new wave of conservatism. Lack of unity is the way the GOP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. The liberals will be unified in 2018 and organized. Hopefully, men of blind ambition - from donors to politicians - will use these next four years to set America back on the path to greatness. 

D: As a Democrat, you just have to hope that the mid cycle performance for the party out of power proves to be true in the next cycle and Democrats make gains both nationally and at home.

R: The world has gone mad.

R: Whether Trump is a drag will be largely dependent upon when the Obama recession begins and how much President Trump is able to do to either thwart it or prolong its beginning.  Right now, it appears that 2017 economic predictions are trending very positive.  If that continues into the first quarter of 2018, Republicans will do just fine during the mid-terms.

R: What no John Morgan?  Did he say he is out?  I think Corcoran runs for AG.  Makes the most sense.

D: I think that Trump will implode, which will make it more likely that the Republicans choose a mainstream candidate like Putnam....I think the Democrats may have a self-funder, like John Morgan, or someone else.

The Florida Insiders included: 

Javier Manjarres, Susie Wiles, JC Planas, John Konkus, Screven Watson, Fred Piccolo, Scott Barnhart, Nick Hansen, Bill Lee, Rockie Pennington, John Wehrung, Pat Neal, Matthew Corrigan, Jason Altmire, Bob Poe, Stafford Jones, Mac Stipanovich, Joshua Karp, Travis Blanton, John Morgan, Ana Navarro, Joy-Ann Reid, Travis Blanton, Bernie Campbell, Rich Heffley, Mark Ferrulo, Kevin Cate, Fernand Amandi, Ashley Walker, Mike Fasano, Aubrey Jewett, Bud Shorstein, Robin Rorapaugh, Henry Kelley, Ryan Banfill, Christian Ulvert, Meredith O'Rourke, Eric Zichella, David Beattie, Andy Ford, Brian May, Karen Unger, Jeff Johnson, Paul Mitchell, Jason Rosenberg, Jason Roth, Brian Goff, Ron Pierce, Darryl Paulson, Brian Franklin, Nancy Texeira, Brad Coker, Patrick Manteiga, Eric Eikenberg, Doug Kaplan, Dan Gelber, Richard DeNapoli, Dan McLaughlin, Ryan Duffy, Pete Mitchell, Roly Marante, Tony DiMatteo, Jim Rimes, Chip Case, Alex Patton, Geoffrey Becker, Jim Davis, Frank Tsamatoules, Brian Hughes, Erin VanSickle, Abel Harding, John French, Ellen Freidin, Mike Hightower, Hayden Dempsey, Scott Peelen, Peter Feaman, Jon Mills, Bridget Nocco, Paula Dockery, Doc Dockery, Marion Hammer, Frank Torres, Jeff Kottkamp, Jim Holton, Ron Gunzburger, Fred Cunningham, Gretchen Picotte, David Rancourt, Tre Evers, Mary ann Carter, Nikki Lowrey, Arlene DiBenigno, Jason Unger, Nancy McGowan, Mark Foley, Greg C. Truax, Pablo Diaz, Betty Castor, Nan Rich, Jill Chamberlin, Chip LaMarca, Jamie Wilson, Sarah Rumpf, Kathy Mears, Darrick D, McGhee, Patrick Slevin, Ralph Arza, Mike Hanna, Kartik Krishnaiyer, Mark Zubaly, Karen Giorno, Robert Wexler, Peter Wallace, Stephanie Kunkel, Evelyn Perez-Verdia, Towson Fraser, Tom Lewis, Bill Bunkley, Chris Hand, Gus Corbella, George Riley, Steve Schale, Richard Gentry, Monica Russo, Justin Day, Jon Ausman, Eric Jotkoff, Alan Clendenin, Matthew Isbell, Susan Smith, John Dowless, Dan Smith, Frank Tsamaoutles, Jeff Hartley, Cynthia Henderson, Peter Antonacci, Alan Stonecipher, Tom Scarritt, Seth McKee, Andrew Weinstein, Kristy Campbell, Barry Edwards, Stephen Shiver, Don Hinkle, Rodney Barreto, David Mica, David Johnson, Andrea Reilly, Matt Bryan, Zachariah Zachariah, Dean Cannon, Cory Tilley, Julia Woodward, Nels Kingston, Marion Hammer, Marty Fiorentino, Richard Swann, Jack Furnari, Jorge L. Arrizurieta, Christina Johnson, Alex Sink, Ashley Bauman, Jackie Lee, Brandon Patty, Van Poole, Slater Bayliss, Marian Johnson, Cindy Graves, Jim Cherry, April Schiff, Karl Koch, Jose Gonzalez, Clarence McKee, Ann Herberger, Damien Filer, Jamie Miller, John Stemberger, Steve Geller.

[Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2017 8:42am]


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