Back in May, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam launched his bid for governor. After having a successful few months of campaigning under his belt as the only Republican candidate for governor, rumors are flying that Putnam is about to get his first challenger, Florida state Senator Jack Latvala.
Senator Latvala is expected to announce his bid for governor next week. Latvala, who back in the 90s spent eight years in the Legislature, and is currently in his seventh year of his second legislative tour is a political giant in the largest battleground region of Florida. Ahead of his announcing his intention to run, Latvala has begun to position himself as the practical alternative.
In an interview with CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede earlier this month, Latvala took aim at both Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran calling them “government animals.” Latvala laid the groundwork to differentiate himself from Putnam telling DeFede, “I’ve actually made a payroll. I’ve actually paid workers comp claims. I’ve been in business all these years, while Adam has been in elected office since he was 22 years old.” After critiquing Putnam for being a “career politician” Latvala took aim at Corcoran, “he’s a lawyer with a law firm that lobbies now. I don’t know how much he actually works and practices law.”
With regards to Latvala’s campaign platform he has made clear he would follow in Governor Rick Scott’s footsteps by staying focused on jobs while adding infrastructure and mental-health spending to his priorities.
While Putrnam remains a clear frontrunner, Latvala has a chance to deliver an upset as long as both Corcoran and DeSantis jump in, which as of press time, both are rumored to be joining the race. In a four way race, candidates will no doubt spend time slinging mud and fighting for 30% of the vote to win the nomination.
From being a champion for both police and firefighter unions to being one of Florida’s most effective legislators for over 15 years in the Florida Senate, it is clear Latvala will bring some strong allies with him to the race. Latvala brings a lot to the Governor’s race from has name ID to strong connections in the Tampa Bay area.
Even with the Florida primaries being a little over a year out, the reality of a shake up in the race for Governor is guaranteed once Latvala jumps in, but the question still remains who will make it past the primaries. Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, the 2018 governor’s race in the Sunshine State has the potential to become a spectator sport.