Politics

Adam Putnam: Florida GOP Needs ‘Clear-Eyed Assessment’ of 2012 Election Failures

By: Jim Turner | Posted: January 7, 2013 3:55 AM

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam served up a hardy plateful of realism for state and local party leaders to digest when the Republican Party of Florida broke for lunch during its meeting in Orlando on Saturday.

Despite several offerings of optimism for the 2014 elections earlier in the day during the RPOF’s quarterly meeting at the Rosen Centre Hotel, Putnam charged that the party that dominates Florida’s political landscape may not have been as prepared or as hungry as first thought when the 2012 political cycle began.

And he called for a “clear-eyed” reassessment of where the state party, which has dominated Florida politics for two decades, is headed as Democrats -- possibly with former Republican governor Charlie Crist at the helm -- believe they move into the next election cycle that features a gubernatorial contest and the Cabinet posts with momentum.

Adam Putnam

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

“It’s not that we lost, it’s that we didn’t see it coming and really smart people who made a lot of money off of us told us the opposite of what was going to happen. That’s infuriating,” Putnam said.

“The people who we knew were going to win won. And the people who you think didn’t really have much of a shot turned out not to have much of a shot. And so for all the advice and all the effort, what did we change? What did we impact?”

Putnam didn’t question how hard people worked during the campaign, making phone calls and working precincts, but instead posed “did the party work smart?”

“We got a record number of voter contacts, but fewer people showed up for Romney than showed up for McCain,” Putnam said. “Something went wrong. And we have to have a clear-eyed assessment of that and we have to fix it.”

A University of Florida grad, he referred to the Gators’ upset defeat Jan. 2 to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl as mirroring the political situation in the Sunshine State.

“The Gators had more talent. The Gators had greater resources. They had more money in the bank. They had smarter consultants. But they didn’t want it badly enough,” Putnam said.

“Louisville wanted it more and they came to play. They had tasted victory. They had gotten the opportunity to go to the dance and just flat wanted it more.”

In Florida, with a record turnout for the general election, the Democratic Party got a taste of success with the state swaying blue for President Obama, retaining the seat held by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, and making gains in the U.S. House and state Legislature.

Because of such inroads, Putnam said Democrats in Florida will come at 2014 with Crist and the belief that the political landscape is shifting left in the Sunshine State.

Putnam said the state party must highlight its jobs, family, reduced taxes and regulations which he equated to being unique from the D.C. way of government.

“The Florida way as opposed to the Lawton Chiles way or Charlie Crist way, who personifies the say-anything, be-anyone, do-anything to get elected,” Putnam said. “We can’t possibly let him happen to our state.”



Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.



Comments (13)

Paul
1:25AM JAN 8TH 2013
The reason we lost 12 counties in Florida and the state is that the Romney campaign was listening to a bunch of RNC consultant hacks. All of these hacks INSIST that Independents & weak Dems could win Romney the election. The RVC's and their kiddie corps went off to convince these marginal voters and take the GOP base for granted. Our county (Sarasota) took charge of our election and worked hard through absentee voters and early voting to bring in the base to vote Republican. Connie Mack's race went to pieces due to a slow start, extreme arrogance and being shepherded along by the Romney campaign to the same defeat. The RPOS tried to save the Senate race, too. The lesson here:
Have a strong local party organization and DON'T let a one size fits all national campaign overpower it!
Frank
1:59PM JAN 12TH 2013
Yes, it was all about our consultants . . .

Our election losses had nothing to do with our demonizations of women, hispanics, arabs, immigration, unions, teachers, civil servants, the 47%, other religions, or the associated Republican partisan political policies and weird party platform conspiracy theories (like the UN is taking over the sovereignty of the US through Agenda 21) that we all believe in . . . .

Yes, it was all our consultants' faults . . . . . not our idiotic political philosophy and 14th century statements and personal actions . . .

Pathetic . . . .
Frank
6:04PM JAN 7TH 2013
What a bunch of whining losers below! . . . . . one would be led to believe that the election was lost due to either:

(1) Stolen elections;
(2) Republicans voting in primaries and not in the general election;
(3) Republicans nominating RINOs;
(4) Adam Putnam;
(5) The Republican Party going too far left; or
(6) Too many New Yorkers flooding Florida.

I see that my once grand old party is still shooting itself in the foot and cannibalistically devouring its own . . . . no wonder Adam Putnam remains frustrated by his strange Tea Party dominated party . . . . . absolutely incredible, crazy in its mindless conspiracies and certainly . . .

Pathetic . . . .
missyP
5:03PM JAN 7TH 2013
Don't forget the issue of voter integrity. we must address the issue of inacccuracies in voting. When I went to sleep on election night, with 100% of precincts reporting their totals, my congressman Allen West had won by 2500 votes. When I woke up the next day, Supervisor of Elections Walker in Port St Lucie had found another 5000 votes, most of which went to Murphy.
The necessity of having free and fair elections must be a bedrock of our society. I await the finding of Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
Bud Ennis
2:09PM JAN 7TH 2013
I think a huge reason we are losing ground in the Republican Party is this. There is two elections. A Primary and a General Election. The Primary is when I see all the Repubs that want to get to the General election.I work hard with time and resources to get my man the primary victor. If he wins I then work just as hard to get him or her to win the general election. If he or she loses then I along with most that voted as I will work just as hard to get the nominee elected. I have to remember the General election is where my desire for good Government is won or lost. If we get on our pity pot and do not vote in the General election we have no one to blame for our loss. Do you think for one moment the vast majority of democrats voted for the democratic nominee because they liked them. They voted because they are deocrats and no matter who is on the General ticket they vote for them. Remember: The ones who sit on their Pity Pots and pass up the General Election ALWAYS LOSES. Think about it.
Bud Ennis
2:09PM JAN 7TH 2013
I think a huge reason we are losing ground in the Republican Party is this. There is two elections. A Primary and a General Election. The Primary is when I see all the Repubs that want to get to the General election.I work hard with time and resources to get my man the primary victor. If he wins I then work just as hard to get him or her to win the general election. If he or she loses then I along with most that voted as I will work just as hard to get the nominee elected. I have to remember the General election is where my desire for good Government is won or lost. If we get on our pity pot and do not vote in the General election we have no one to blame for our loss. Do you think for one moment the vast majority of democrats voted for the democratic nominee because they liked them. They voted because they are deocrats and no matter who is on the General ticket they vote for them. Remember: The ones who sit on their Pity Pots and pass up the General Election ALWAYS LOSES. Think about it.
Paul
1:26AM JAN 8TH 2013
Well said and absolutely correct, Bud.
Clear Eyed Assessment
9:56AM JAN 7TH 2013
Republicans - here's your assessment. Stop nominating democrat lites who believe in more government. In 2010, when the establishment briefly lost control, republicans swept into office big time. When the power establishment drove the car in 2012, we went right off the fiscal cliff. Do the math - trust the people.
wbp
9:43AM JAN 7TH 2013
i supported putnam for a long time but no more. he has become nothing but a right wing republican party do boy. i cannot and will not support any one who thinks rick scott is a good idea. he will never again get my vote.
Sue Every
6:23PM JAN 7TH 2013
Why am I interested in Putnam whining? Why is this in the Florida Farm News? Do you think we are all Republicans?
You lost, We won. Grow up and get real.
Randy
10:25AM JAN 7TH 2013
That is rich...Putnam a right winger. His energy bill showed him to be nothing more than Charlie Crist lite and another crony capitalist.
Stephen Hunter
9:05AM JAN 7TH 2013
Adam Putnam is part of why republicans lost this election. Arrogant, we know best, this is who you will have for the republican candidates attitudes gave us candidates we told them we did not want. We worked hard to try to get the candidates they gave us elected, even when our hearts were not in it, but the republican party just kept shoving their this is who you will have as a candidate down our throats. As a result, many of us that have been republicans all of our lives, are withdrawing from the republican party and will support what the republican party may consider as an unwinnable new party. We feel we have nothing to lose and should have done this in 2010 as the results we did not want still occurred. Worse, voter fraud was responsible for the loss more than anything else and the republican party will not even touch it to stop the tyrannical federal government from steam rolling everything in its path, No state sovereignty, no violation of the constitution, nothing. Their answer is the democrats won so we just need to suck it up and do what they say. The only logical conclusion is that the republicans got what they wanted, more big government, reduced personal liberties, more trampling of the constitution, and less power for the people, and they can blame it on the democrats.
Steve Greenberg
8:34AM JAN 7TH 2013
There are many reasons the Dems did so well (Priebus the best you guys have?), among those reasons?: Many have fled the NY tri-state area because of high taxes & cost of living. They move to FL & simply want to re-create the same Dem-controlled big government that ruined NY. The Repubs need to put forth a sound, believable message!!

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