The race for the Republican nomination for governor became a bit more contentious following Ron DeSantis’ comments he made regarding his opponent Adam Putnam on the syndicated radio show of Donald Trump supporter John Fredericks.
The race, which until now has been relatively calm, heated up quickly after DeSantis lashed out at Putnam during the interview, attacking Putnam’s record on immigration and labeling him a career politician, while emphasizing his own service in the military.
“He’s been in office since he was 22 years old and has been a career politician,” DeSantis said. “When he was in his twenties he was in elective office, when I was in my twenties I was serving in Iraq, in Guantanamo Bay, and our military. So it’s a much different approach.”
DeSantis accused Putnam of supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and criticizing Putnam for supporting the “Schumer-Obama amnesty” plan.
“Well we are very different in our approach to illegal immigration,” DeSantis told Fredericks on his syndicated show. “When he was in the Congress, he supported the McCain amnesty, he even supported the gang of eight Schumer-Obama amnesty when he was Ag Commissioner. He didn’t even have to vote on it but he supported it. He opposed bringing troops, putting troops on our southern border.”
DeSantis also said he supports requiring employers to use e-verify to document the immigration status of their workers.
“In Florida specifically I support mandatory e-verify because I think if you want to combat illegal immigration you got to insist on us having a legal workforce,” DeSantis said. “He (Putnam) opposes mandatory e-verify and worked to kill it when it was in the state legislature several years ago. So it’s a major difference on our approach to that, I’m someone who stood for the rule of law, for strong borders to make sure Americans come first when it comes to jobs and benefits. And he has not done that.”
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.”
Recent polls have shown the race tightening between Putnam, who has been considered the presumptive front-runner in the race, and DeSantis. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who still hasn’t announced whether he’s running, comes in a distant third.
The Capitolist’s HorseRace Index, which provides an average of the polls taken to date by using a weighted formula, shows Putnam with half of a percentage point lead. The Index shows Putnam at 20.4 percent followed by DeSantis with 19.9 percent. Corcoran is third at 4.3 percent