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Matt Caldwell to kick-off Ag Commissioner campaign Monday in Fort Myers

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Matt Caldwell is ready to kick is campaign for agriculture commissioner into high gear.

The North Fort Myers Republican will officially kick-off his campaign with an event at Sun Harvest Citrus, 14601 Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Fort Myers at 11:15 a.m., Monday.

Caldwell, who had been expected to throw his hat in the race to replace Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, filed to run for the seat earlier this month. Since January, Caldwell has raised $702,825 for his political committee Friends of Matt Caldwell.

State records show his February 2017 fundraising haul of $412,075 was the largest single month haul since August 2016, when the committee was started. The committee ended March with more than $650,000 cash on hand, according to state records.

The chairman of the Government Accountability Committee, Caldwell has spent much of his career in the Legislature focused on environmental and agricultural issues, a background that could serve him well in the position. During the 2017 Legislative Session, he pushed for legislation restructure the funding formula for Florida Forever and guarantee funding to the conservation program.

Caldwell can’t run for re-election in the House because of term limits.

He isn’t the only state legislator vying to replace Putnam, who is running for governor. Sen. Denise Grimsley filed to run for the seat earlier this year. A fifth generation Floridian, Grimsley was first elected to the Florida House in 2004, where she served until 2012, when she was elected to the Senate

Republican Paul Paulson and Democrats Michael Damian Christine and Daniel Sohn have also filed to run for the seat.

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