Adam Putnam

State agriculture commissioner

Former state and U.S. congressional representative

This post is part of our voter guide for the Aug. 28 local and primary elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to the key races and decisions being made this election.

Gov. Rick Scott can’t run for a third consecutive term, so the race for the next governor of Florida is wide open. The Democratic and Republican primaries have a full slate of diverse candidates, but we chose to focus on the competitive candidates in both races.

Based on the questions you said you had for the candidates, we recapped their stances on the following issues: guns, climate change and the environment, criminal justice, Amendment 4 (aka the Voter Restoration Act, or allowing felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote), and marijuana legalization. The winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries for this seat will face off in the November general election.

While this field is packed with plenty of candidates Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis have such a substantial lead in fundraising, polling numbers, and name recognition that we’ve chosen to focus on them as the most competitive candidates.

Adam is the state’s agriculture commissioner and previously spent time as both a state and U.S. congressional representative. His campaign is primarily focused on presenting a conservative political message, protecting gun rights and on services and programs for veterans. He faced criticism and calls to drop out of the race in June when the Tampa Bay Times revealed that, for more than a year, Putnam’s office didn’t do national background checks on thousands of concealed weapons permit applicants because an employee couldn’t access the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Putnam’s opponents are Ron DeSantis, Don Baldauf, Timothy Devine, Bob Langford, John Joseph Mercadante, Bruce Nathan and Bob White.


NRA grade: A+

Putnam strongly supports the Second Amendment and believes that “if you carried a gun in Iraq, you should be able to own one at home.” He said he plans to defend gun ownership rights from “progressive liberals” and on his website boasts about how state’s concealed weapon permit program has grown to become the largest in the country.


In an interview with the Miami Herald he stated that he wants to protect the state’s shorelines and said he opposes oil drilling. Adam

Renewable energy: He claims that the renewable energy standards and ideas introduced by many of the Democratic candidates will negatively impact the state’s economy and be too costly to implement.

Criminal justice

He supports the “Stand Your Ground” law as it’s written. He also plans to increase maximum penalties for violent crimes and drug trafficking.

Voter Restoration ActHe opposes Amendment 4, which would allow felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote.

Medical and recreational marijuana

He opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports medical marijuana use.