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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Putnam 'not real thrilled' with Trump, and won't endorse him



Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi are firmly in Donald Trump's camp, but Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam won't be joining them anytime soon.

In a Times/Herald interview, Putnam says he can't envision a scenario in which he would endorse Trump, at least not before the Republican National Convention in July.

"As the father of three girls, I'm not real thrilled with his language and his history of ungentlemanly things that he has said about women," Putnam said. "But he has clearly tapped into a visceral discontent with the brokenness of Washington."

Putnam said it's important to "take note" of any politician who carries 66 of 67 Florida counties, as Trump did in the state's presidential preference primary two weeks ago.

Like Scott and Bondi, Putnam doesn't have to face the voters this fall. But Putnam is in a unique position as the leading Republican candidate for governor in 2018, which means that stability and unity in the GOP is a more pressing concern for him. And if Trump should be the GOP nominee or, as polls suggest, even less plausibly, becomes president in November, Putnam's refusal to support him could have political consequences.

"I don't envision a scenario where I would endorse Trump prior to the convention, and we'll see what the convention yields," said Putnam, a "super delegate" as a statewide elected official.

Putnam also said that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's statement that he will not run for governor in 2018 isn't changing his own political timetable.

"I think people are paying pretty close attention to 2016 right now," Putnam said. "It's still early."

[Last modified: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 12:39pm]


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