The Florida Democratic Party is taking Adam Putnam to task a day after the Agricultural Commissioner and gubernatorial nominee mocked an anti-National Rifle Association protest held in Tampa.
“Classic progressive move,” Putnam wrote on his Facebook page on Monday. “Desperate attempt to limit our 2nd Amendment rights.”
Listed below his comment was a link to a story that Florida Politics reported about Sunday, when more than 80 citizens marched in downtown Tampa against a provocative NRA television ad featuring conservative commentator Dana Loesch which progressive activists claim is a call for violence.
“The NRA’s recruitment video with Dana Loesch was meant to provoke fear and stoke the flames of division,” said Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone in a statement. “The activists in Tampa Bay were right to denounce this video for what it is–a dangerous incitement of violence. If Adam Putnam is endorsing this video, he’s encouraging violence against fellow Americans.
Not satisfied with accusing Putnam of only that charge, Cervone then asserted that perhaps the comment was meant to curry favor with conservatives in the Republican Party of Florida who are still evaluating his candidacy.
“Could Putnam be more transparent in his pandering to the far right?” Cervone asks. “It’s clear Putnam is more than a little insecure about his credentials as a conservative.”
Also chiming in to ding Putnam was Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor.
“Their ad was despicable and we know what its true intentions are – to tear us apart and divide us,” Gillum said.”But in a year after the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, and losing law enforcement officers in the line of duty in Orlando, we’ve stood together and become stronger. It’s a shameful day when someone who wants to lead our state stands behind such violent, divisive rhetoric, and against commonsense gun protections for Floridians.”
The protest on Sunday in Tampa was similar to other demonstrations which took place over the weekend in Washington D.C. and other U.S. cities that were organized by gun control groups.
As of noon on Tuesday, Putnam’s comment had generated 159 other comments on his Facebook page.
“It is well within these individuals rights to protest, regardless if we agree with them or not,” wrote Taylor Dupree Brewington. “I am a staunch 2nd amendment supporter—but Adam Putnam, remember that if you really want to be governor, these “progressives” are your constituents too, and it is your civic duty to represent them.”
But there were plenty of other people who cheered his comment.
“All these guys have left; is Classic Moves,” writes Victor Salichs. “It’s a constant barrage of the same obvious tactics; in order to make common sense into something meaningless. They are constantly feeding this to their followers; so that they will have a covey of people, who will simply do what they tell them, without question.”
Putnam is the only major Republican candidate currently running for governor at the moment, but the field could get more crowded in the coming months.
Clearwater state Senator Jack Latvala said over the weekend he would make an announcement regarding his potential candidacy on August 16, while House Speaker Richard Corcoran continues to raise funds for a potential run as well.