GOP gathering gives preview of governor's race – Florida Politics (blog)
Florida’s next governor won’t be elected for more than a year, but Republican leaders from across the state got a taste of what’s in store — literally — during a gathering in Orlando this weekend.
Over ice cream and petit fours Friday night, party faithful heard from state Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican who filed paperwork to run for governor hours before appearing at the popular desserts event and is expected to formally announce his entree into the race Wednesday.
On Saturday morning, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — who has been running for months to replace Gov. Rick Scott — delivered a classic campaign speech over eggs, bacon and orange juice, winding up the “Up & Adam” breakfast by giving away a bag full of swag.
Later Saturday, Congressman Ron DeSantis addressed a local caucus, sharing his frustration about the GOP’s inability to follow through on President Donald Trump‘s pledge to “drain the swamp,” something DeSantis blamed on Republicans in the U.S. Senate. The Palm Coast Republican is mulling a bid for governor but said he won’t make a decision until sometime this fall at the earliest.
Just one of the Republicans thus far considering joining the race — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes — did not attend the Republican Party of Florida’s quarterly meeting at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, which drew local party leaders who will play a critical role in what will almost certainly be a contentious GOP primary.
All four GOP candidates in the race to replace Putnam as agriculture commissioner — state Sen. Denise Grimsley, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, former state Rep. Baxter Troutman and Orlando businessman Paul Paulson — also made the rounds at the weekend event, which included about 250 state committeemen and committeewomen and county party chairs.
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