Republican candidates campaign as Florida gubernatorial race enters primaries

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - With primaries less than a month away, Florida residents will soon be voicing their choice for the state’s next governor. On the Republican side — two candidates are pulling away from the pack. 7’s Joe Roetz breaks down the race.

As Gov. Rick Scott prepares to leave office, two Republican candidates are seeking to fill his seat this upcoming election.

Two established names have risen to the top of the polls: U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam, Florida’s current Commissioner of Agriculture.

Adam Putnam: “I’m a fifth generation Floridian, a business owner and a farmer, and I am focused on putting Florida first.”

Ron DeSantis: “For someone who grew up just across the Bay in Pinellas County, just starting out making six bucks an hour, it’s a true honor to be standing here endorsed by the President of the United States.”

Both DeSantis and Putnam have been pounding the pavement at several events in South Florida.

DeSantis spent time with members of the Bay of Pigs veterans back in May while Putnam held a breakfast event, and then in Hialeah, he spoke with the Federated Republican Women.

The two went toe-to-toe in a debate not long ago. DeSantis touted his work in Congress and the recently passed tax plan as a boom for new business in the Sunshine State.

Ron DeSantis: “What’s going to happen because of the tax cuts we passed, getting rid of the subsidies for high tax states, I think you’re going to see people re-evaluate and say, ‘Why do I have this business in Illinois or Connecticut?’ I can bring it down to Florida.”

On the topic of illegal immigration:

Adam Putnam: “Our 21 million Floridians are paying $100 million a year to feed, clothe and house criminal illegal aliens in our prison system. That will end.”

Ron DeSantis: “He is weak on the border, he has been weak on immigration, and he supported the Obama-Schumer Gang of Eight amnesty immigration, which is a terrible piece of legislation.”

Both are outspoken supporters of the Second Amendment and gun rights. In the wake of the Parkland shooting, those views unwavering.

Commissioner Putnam with this to say:

Adam Putnam: “I knew how to hunt before I could drive. I’m a shooter, a hunter, a collector, and I believe that it’s important that in Florida we protect our constitutional rights.”

DeSantis is a tried and true supporter of President Trump, something seen in a July ad.

Ron DeSantis (in an ad): “Make America Great Again.”

And President Trump backed DeSantis, even rallying for him in Tampa in July.

President Donald Trump: “He’s tough, he’s smart, and he loves Florida, and he loves our country, and he’s going to be your next governor.”

Like DeSantis, Adam Putnam supports President Trump and had this to say about the Commander in Chief’s endorsement of his opponent:

Adam Putnam: “A presidential thumb on the scale is a pretty big thumb. I have a Florida-based message and a Florida first agenda for the state. Ultimately, that and our grassroots enthusiasm, like you see here tonight, will put it over the top.”

Now with just weeks to go until the Florida primary election, DeSantis and Putnam are both making that push to get your vote in the booth.

Ron DeSantis: “I think we have a great opportunity to build off the success that Gov. Scott had.”

Adam Putnam: “I know our state best, and I will always put Florida first.”

While DeSantis and Putnam are the two top Republican candidates for governor, there are several other names on the ballot as the primaries approach, but recent polling has them at two percent support or less.

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