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Putnam, DeSantis clash over support for President Trump
Republicans in the Florida gubernatorial candidates debate which of them is the bigger supporter of the President on the agenda.
Florida Commissioner of agriculture Adam Putnam and Rep. Ron DeSantis sparred Thursday in Fox News’ Florida Republican gubernatorial debate on their support for President Trump, while DeSantis defended his relationship with the President and Putnam argued, he focuses more on local issues than his opponent.
Putnam, who spent 10 years in Congress prior to the elections across the country in Florida, his opening statement to portray DeSantis, elected at the Congress, in the year 2012, as a creature of Washington. “What is to be an exciting time, said in front of a live audience of 1,000, the Florida Republican,” Putnam said in his opening speech. “It is different than a Washington, DC studio. Welcome to Florida, the Congressman.”
DeSantis played, Trump’s endorsement of his campaign, with the expression of doubt that Putnam supports adequately the trump card. “I am proud of the approval of the President trump card in this race,” he said.
DeSantis added, “If Donald Trump was trying to win Florida in 2016, Adam Putnam is not a single rally with him. You couldn’t find Adam Putnam, if you had a search warrant.”
1 of Fox News’ the Florida GOP gubernatorial primary debate
But Putnam played, his support for the trombone, saying, “I support our President, the agenda for our country.” He later said: “I’m focused on Florida.”
The two candidates took shots at each other in the hour-long debate. But to nominate the questions that they are called both, to trump the conservative, to the Supreme court, criticized California democratic Republic of the Maxine Waters for her controversial past comments and expressed concern about school shootings while defending Second Amendment rights.
Thursday in the debate, moderated by Bret Baier, and Martha MacCallum, was held in the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee before the Aug. 28 primary.
The debate unfolded in the midst of breaking news of the mass shootings in the capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, where police say at least five people were killed. The candidates discussed gun control, referencing the recent infamous massacre in Florida, a nightclub and a high school.
FOX NEWS POLL: FLORIDA GOP GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY
2 of Fox News’ the Florida GOP gubernatorial primary debate
“It is critically important that we should protect and defend our rights and our students in the schools,” said Putnam. “These two things are not incompatible.”
“My wife and I have two small children under two years,” DeSantis said. “The thought that someone would come and shoot you, fills me with rage.”
Both of them requested the removal of Scott Israel, sheriff of Broward County, which came up in the criticism after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in February.
“I would have removed the sheriff of Broward County. He failed his citizens and he should have been removed,” DeSantis said.
“Sheriff Israel said the subject of investigation, and he has to go,” Putnam.
Thursday’s showdown in the television is part of Fox News’ series of debates on the 2018 midterm elections.
Although Trump endorsed DeSantis, a recent Fox News poll of Florida likely GOP primary voters finds Putnam before DeSantis by a 32-17 percent margin. But 39 percent of voters said they are not sure who you will back in the primary school. Meanwhile, 46 percent of respondents say the support of a candidate, you could still change your mind.
In the meantime, there is a crowded Democratic primary for Governor, including Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Orlando business man Chris King and the former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine.
The current Governor of Florida, Republican Rick Scott, is a challenge to the incumbent Democratic sen. Bill Nelson for Senate.
Fox News’ Dana Blanton contributed to this report.
Alex Pappas is a political reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Alex Pappas.