Baxter Troutman has made it official.
The Winter Haven Republican filed to run for Agriculture Commissioner on Monday, joining an already crowded field vying to replace Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in 2018. Troutman filed the necessary paperwork Monday, and opened his campaign account with a personal contribution of $2.5 million, according to his campaign.
“For two decades, I’ve been building a business and continuing my work in Florida agriculture. Real experience and success in the private sector is what we need more than ever,” said Troutman in a statement. “Working side by side with folks who send their hard earned money to Tallahassee, I know why it is so important to keep taxes low, balance our budgets and grow Florida’s economy.”
Troutman is the grandson of late citrus baron and one-time gubernatorial candidate Ben Hill Griffin Jr.
The 50-year-old served in the Florida House 2002 to 2010. His disagreements with his cousin, former state Sen. J.D. Alexander, both in the Legislature and in the family’s agri-businesses are legendary, but both men have said they have since settled their differences.
Troutman, who proposed to his wife Rebecca on the floor of the House while it was in session, campaigned for her last year in her unsuccessful run for Polk County School Board. She will serve as the co-chair of his campaign, and Troutman said he looks forward to “spending the months ahead traveling the state to talk with Floridians about our future.”
“Every corner of this great state feels the practical and economic impact of agriculture, and we simply cannot afford someone in this important leadership position who doesn’t understand how to make it work for taxpayers,” he said. “For these reasons, I have spent the past few weeks talking to friends, neighbors and my family. The strong encouragement to move forward with this campaign has been humbling. Winning the faith and support of so many is truly a blessing.”
Republicans Denise Grimsley, Matt Caldwell, and Paul Paulson have already filed to run for the seat.