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Pam Bondi to campaign for Adam Putnam in Orlando

The two cabinet members will hold an event together on Thursday.
Attorney General Pam Bondi gives a press conference announcing that her office has filed a lawsuit against five large drug manufacturers and distributers of opioids while flanked Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, state and local government officials and other families affected by the opioids epidemic at the Riverside Recovery Center in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
Attorney General Pam Bondi gives a press conference announcing that her office has filed a lawsuit against five large drug manufacturers and distributers of opioids while flanked Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, state and local government officials and other families affected by the opioids epidemic at the Riverside Recovery Center in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Jul. 18, 2018

At a critical point in Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's gubernatorial aspirations, Attorney General Pam Bondi is coming to his aid.

The two Republican cabinet members will appear together in Orlando on Thursday to open a new campaign office, Putnam's office announced Wednesday. The traditional campaign event is one of several this week for Putnam, who continues to travel the state on a near-daily basis.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has maintained a much lighter schedule marked by higher-profile events, including stops with Fox News host Sean Hannity and conservative radio commentator Mark Levin.

The outgoing attorney general doesn't bring quite the same star power. But she remains well-liked by Republicans, still makes regular appearances on Fox networks and was an early backer of President Donald Trump in Florida, who has endorsed DeSantis.

The appearance together comes just days after Bondi declined to investigate whether Putnam's agency mishandled the state's concealed weapons permit program. In a letter to the Florida League of Women voters, Bondi said she didn't have authority to probe the matter and referred the organization to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the Office of the Inspector General.

After leading for the past year, Putnam now finds himself in a tight race with DeSantis a month before their August primary date. Recent polls show DeSantis with a lead ranging from a few percentage points to double digits, though the credibility of those surveys vary.

Putnam will appear Wednesday afternoon at a Republican forum at the Villages, the large central Florida retirement metropolis. DeSantis declined to attend, and will instead hold an event with Donald Trump Jr.