Appearing in his former hometown of Ponte Vedra Beach for a Saturday rally, Congressman Ron DeSantis lobbed a barrage of political bombs towards his opponent, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam – calling him a career politician, and a person of privilege. Speaking to reporters after the rally DeSantis said, “He (Putnam) has not had a career outside of politics, he inherited his money, he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. I’m somebody who was a blue-collar kid. I started making six dollars an hour. I worked myself. I got nothing handed to me.”
DeSantis’ campaign will start a $12 million ad campaign on Monday. Armed with President Trump’s endorsement, DeSantis says the real campaign for governor begins now, not in April and May when voters aren’t engaged.
“You’re going to see a very aggressive campaign when it matters and when people are actually paying attention. A couple of weeks from now you’re going to see a dramatically different thing,” said DeSantis. “I’ve been building for the moment. I’ve not been out wasting money. That was a deliberate strategy and I think it’s going to pay off.”
The Navy veteran made it clear the points of contrast he’ll use against Putnam: He’s the outsider, Putnam is a Tallahassee insider; He served his country in the military including in a war-zone, Putnam did not serve; and he is tougher on cracking down on illegal immigration while Putnam opposes passage of E-Verify in Florida.
A Fox News poll released on Thursday shows DeSantis trailing Putnam by 15%, but two factors could evaporate that lead – high undecideds and Trump’s endorsement. The poll was taken before the President tweeted his support Friday morning.
Add to the Fox News debate scheduled Thursday night between DeSantis and Putnam and the congressman may be right – the campaign for the Republican nomination for governor is just starting.