The Buzz on Florida politics

Adam putnam
Andrew Gillum

Latest Buzz on Florida politics

Florida's busiest election cycle in decades is shaped above all by one guy, Donald Trump.

That's the clear consensus of more than 220 longtime players and close observers of Florida politics participating in our latest Florida Insider Poll. Asked to name the most influential Republican in Florida, almost as many Insiders named Trump as named the obvious choice, Gov. Rick Scott.

Trump has "decimated" the Florida GOP's traditional leadership," said one Republican. "Jeb Bush is MIA and Marco Rubio is a chihuahua- not because he's Hispanic but because he jumps and barks a lot but has no stature. Every primary in Florida, for dog catcher on up to governor or US Senator, it's all about embracing Trump or confronting Trump."

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Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer's group NextGen America made waves last month when it announced it is backing Democrat Andrew Gillum in the Florida governor's race.

This week, the group is putting some more money where its mouth is.

NextGen America is making a six-figure digital ad buy in support of Gillum, pushing two new ads on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other online platforms, according to a release obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.

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Gov. Rick Scott starts the week with a new TV that harkens back to his campaign launch and hits the theme of a broken Washington full of career politicians.

"Washington's a disaster. It's dysfunctional," Scott says in the ad, which is based on his April 9 kickoff in Orlando.

Scott has continued to spend heavily on his campaign against Sen. Bill Nelson, though recent polls show the race is tight.

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Adam Putnam surprised even members of his own Republican party with his enthusiasm for gun rights and the National Rifle Association shortly after announcing his candidacy for Florida governor.

Guns should be allowed on college campuses, Putnam said in a July 2017 Tallahassee speech, and maybe it's time for Florida to once again let people carry guns openly in public, too.

A Tampa Bay Times column panned the speech. Its headline: "Adam Putnam sells out to the NRA."

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Winner of the week 1

Donald Trump. Okay, so our president seemed last week to have more appreciation for Vladimir Putin than U.S. intellgence services. He also showed what a mighty political force he remains for Florida Republicans, with multiple polls now showing that since President Trump endorsed him for governor, Ron DeSantis has soared into a double digit lead over Adam Putnam.

Winners of the week 2

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VALRICO — Gov. Rick Scott's campaign event Saturday was part political rally, part fiesta.

Scott, the termed-out Republican who's running for senate this year, appeared before a small but spirited crowd of mostly Latino and Latina supporters at El Rico Frappe Latino restaurant in Valrico. He was joined by Puerto Rican Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, a smattering of local Republican candidates — and a salsa band.

Scott and González-Colón, who endorsed the governor in May, made no major announcements at the event, the goal of which seemed to be to shore up support of the all-important Florida Puerto Rican community ahead of the crucial 2018 elections. Scott entered to the salsa music, and even briefly showed off his dance moves.

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