With ten days left before the August 28 Republican Primary, Adam Putnam is encouraged by a new poll showing the governor’s race is essentially tied. The Survey USA poll released earlier this week shows Congressman Ron DeSantis leading Agriculture Commissioner Putnam 40%-38%. Previous public polls in July showed DeSantis leading by double-digits. “It is an indication of coming off the ‘Trump bump,’ I believe, you’re seeing a return to normalcy in this race,” Putnam told FLA News.
Friday was the first day of Putnam’s 9-day bus tour that will take him throughout Florida. Friday’s stops included Winter Park and Ormond Beach. Saturday he stops in Jacksonville.
Putnam has placed an emphasis on a grassroots campaign with volunteers knocking on more than 300,000 doors across the nation’s third largest state. He believes the two years he’s spent building his grassroots organization will pay off in the last two weeks of the campaign. “The seeds that we’ve planted all over the state, the relationships I’ve built, the time I’ve spent in individual communities – this is when it pays off,” Putnam said.
When Putnam officially entered the race for governor a year ago, he was the immediate frontrunner, even when DeSantis joined the race in January. It wasn’t until late June, when President Donald Trump tweeted his support for DeSantis that the tide began to turn. Trump then came to Tampa in July to personally campaign for the congressman.
“The President’s thumb on the scale is the biggest thumb you can have, but I also know there are a lot of Trump-Putnam supporters out there,” Putnam says. “I think people are going to decide moving forward with the Florida first candidate is preferable to someone who’s just talking about Washington’s ways.”
There’s clearly a contrast between the Putnam and DeSantis campaigns. Putnam’s campaign model has been a traditional grassroots campaign backed with millions of dollars to pay for TV advertising. That’s historically been successful in Florida. But these are different times, and as Trump proved with his victory in 2016, you can be outspent and still win in Florida.