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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida Insider Poll prediction: Gwen Graham vs. Adam Putnam in '18 governor's race

Here at The Buzz, it's never too early to start looking ahead to future marquee Florida races. With likely 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine already spending money on political ads and likely Republican candidate Adam Putnam already positioning himself as the leader of the Florida GOP, we surveyed more than 100 of Florida's smartest politicos about what they expect in that race. 

The results surprised us: Nearly seven in 10 participants in the latest Florida Insider Poll predicted first-term U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee will be the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in 2018. Nineteen percent said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, 6 percent said Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine, 3 people predicted Charlie Crist, and 4 percent said it would be someone else.

On the Republican side, 83 percent predicted Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam will be the nominee, 5 percent said CFO Jeff Atwater, 5 percent said Sen. Marco Rubio, 4 percent said former Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, and 3 percent said someone else. (Note: Votes are still coming in, so these number may shift slightly.)

"Watch out for (incoming Florida House Speaker Richard) Corcoran. He wants to run, and has the raw ambition and ego to do it," said one Democrat. "Putnam will be their guy, but in this political environment, he is the ultimate career politician. Atwater has a better life story. And we don't know yet what tycoon Scott will recruit to run. On D side, Gwen knows how to raise money, has proven she can navigate tough political terrain, and is as good, if not better than Putnam in retail settings. She is the complete package."

A Republican said Miami Beach's wealthy mayor is the one to watch: "Philip is one of the more talented political communicators in the state, and he can (and will) put his money where his mouth is. He is staking out progressive issues that will make him stand out in a Democratic primary, but he has a background that will appeal to a lot of Bush-like R's. He will be formidable."

Asked who would be the strongest nominee for both major parties, 53 percent said Graham would be the strongest, 27 percent said Buckhorn, 7 percent said Crist, and 8 percent said Levine. Nearly two-thirds said Putnam would be the strongest Republican, 17 percent said Rubio, 9 percent said Weatherford, and 8 percent Atwater.

Those who have voted so far: 

Mike Hanna, Jim Cherry, Eric Zichella, Ben Pollara, Steve Geller, Ann Herberger, Kristy Campbell, Scott Arceneaux, Peter Antonacci, John Konkus, Gretchen Picotte, Mac Stipanovich, Jason Unger, Rich Heffley, Steve Schale, Kevin Cate, Eric Jotkoff, Barry Edwards, Stacy Ritter, Christina Johnson, Tim Baker, Screven Watson, Erik Kirk, Mike Hightower, Cynthia Henderson, Monica Russo, Marc Reichelderfer, Christian Ulvert, Scott Barnhart, Dan McLaughlin, Cory Tilley, Alex Patton, Jeff Johnson, Richard DeNapoli, Abel Harding, Jamie Wilson, Peter Wallace, Seth McKee, Rodney Barreto, Sarah Rumpf, Tom Scarritt, Darrick D. McGhee, Kathy Mears, Jack Seiler, Susan Glickman, Pablo Diaz, Mike Fasano, Ana Navarro, Mark Ferrulo, Eric Eikenberg, Rich Ramos Gus Corbella, Doug Kaplan, Bob Poe, John Stemberger, Husein Cumber, David Johnson, Aubrey Jewett, Mike Hamby, Cindy Graves, Susan Smith, Brad Coker, Nikki Lowrey, Geoffrey Becker, Alan Clendenin, Ryan Duffy, Jim Rimes, Mary Ann Carter, Darryl Paulson, Bill Lee, Trey Stapleton, Jason Altmire, Richard Gentry, Towson Fraser, Susan MacManus, Fred Karlinsky, Nancy McGowan, John Wehrung, David Rancourt, John Morgan, Matt Bryan, Ron Sachs, Alex Sink, Nelson Diaz, Kevin King, Fred Cunningham, Robert Coker, Bob Graham, Dan Smith, Jon Woodard, Wayne Bertsch, Ron Gunzberger, Al Cardenas, Jeff Kottkamp, Lucy Morgan, Ralph Arza, Susan Goldstein, Bob Sparks, Tom Lewis, Joe-Ann Reid, Brian Crowley, Andrew Weinstein, Dave Aronberg, Paula Dockery, Jackie Lee, Matthew Isbell, Jill Chamberlin, April Schiff, Mark Zubaly, Nels Kingston, David Bishop, Tom Tillison, Bud Shorstein, Richard Swann, Greg Turbeville, Chris Hand, Stephen Shiver, Pete Mitchell, Ron Klein, Alan Stonecipher, Chip Case, Clarence McKee, Jack Furnari, Don Hinkle, Scott Peelen, Amber Stoner, Stephanie Kunkel, Marty Fiorentino, Betty Castor, Justin Day, Stafford Jones, Frank Tsamatoules, Karen Thurman, Paul Mitchell.

[Last modified: Friday, May 6, 2016 5:28pm]


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