With the latest statewide poll showing him trailing Adam Putnam by 17 points in the race for the Republican nomination for governor, Ron DeSantis’ campaign came out swinging at Putnam’s position on immigration and his latest media spot focusing on illegal immigration.
“Only a few days after trying to pull the wool over the eyes of conservatives on Fox News, Amnesty Adam is trying to revise his weak record on immigration all over again,” said David Vasquez, press secretary for the DeSantis campaign. “After spending years telling Floridians that immigration can’t be dealt with in Florida because only Washington can handle the issue, he’s now reversing course and pretending to be the law and order candidate.”
Putnam’s political committee, Florida Grown, released a :30 spot featuring Republican Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. The focus of the ad, which was slated to start running statewide Tuesday, is illegal immigration.
“Adam believes we have a responsibility to keep our borders, cities and neighborhoods safe and secure,” Judd says in the spot.
“He’ll make sure that illegal immigrants who commit crimes will be held accountable and deported — not released back into our communities,” Judd continues. “Adam Putnam will stand with law enforcement and enforce the rule of law.”
DeSantis has tried to portray Putnam as being soft on immigration issues when he was in Congress. He has accused Putnam of supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and criticizing Putnam for supporting the “Schumer-Obama amnesty” plan.
“Since he voted with Nancy Pelosi against securing our border and supported both the Gang of Eight Amnesty AND the McCain-Flake Amnesty, Adam Putnam has nothing to say to Florida conservatives about immigration, so he had to have someone else say it for him and even then he just talked in generalities,” Vasquez said Tuesday referring to Sheriff Judd. “Amnesty Adam should step in front of the camera and explain his votes to the Florida conservatives.”
Last month, a campaign spokesperson for Putnam defended his record on immigration.
“Adam Putnam has a clear record against amnesty, against illegal immigration and against sanctuary cities,” said Amanda Bevis, the Putnam campaign’s communications director. “Adam Putnam supports President Trump’s actions to secure our borders, including activating troops for this critical purpose. Without strong border security to prevent illegal aliens from unlawfully entering our country, the lives of American citizens are endangered. We must do what we can to secure our borders and keep American citizens safe.”
The Florida Chamber of Commerce released a poll yesterday showing Putnam with a 17-point lead over DeSantis — 32 percent to 15 percent. However, the poll also shows 48 percent of the Republican voters surveyed were still undecided.
The Florida Chamber endorsed Putnam in the race for governor last month.
With the August 28 primary less than two months away, the issue of illegal immigration will likely remain a hot topic as both candidates try to appeal to their party’s conservative base in an effort to win the GOP nomination for governor.
The attacks on Putnam’s immigration views comes as reports show his commanding lead in campaign contributions has slipped by $3 million as his campaign begins to do more media advertising. A report published by Politico Tuesday shows Putnam with $15.7 million on hand. That’s still $6 million more than DeSantis.