The people of Florida District 12 were had tonight. Doug Tudor waged a great campaign on a shoe-string budget. With no help from the DCCC he made an amazing showing ... that fell short (58% to 42%). Putnam, with his war-chest full of donations from the industries he's supposed to oversee as a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Late Tuesday, Adam Putnam thanked the voters of District 12 for sending him back to Congress by announcing that "he will step down from his chairmanship of the House Republican Conference Committee and will not seek election to any other leadership post when his chairmanship expires Nov. 17."
In other words, Adam Putnam will be drawing his Congressional salary to sit on the back benches of Congress while he plans his run for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture in 2010, or possibly Mel Martinez's seat as Senator.
Talk about slapping your constituents in the face. One of the points Putnam's supporters kept making during the election, was he was the third ranking member of the Republican leadership. And now that he has secured his re-election, he's withdrawing from the leadership.
Staff members hastily sent out copies of his letter to fellow Republican members of Congress starting just before 11 p.m., and Putnam, as late as midnight, was contacting fellow Congressional Republicans to inform them personally of his decision.
Immediately, speculation grew that Putnam, 34, may now focus on a 2010 race to become Florida Agriculture Commissioner or even to run for the U.S. Senate if Republican Sen. Mel Martinez decides not to run in two years. The Bartow native’s family runs a cattle and citrus operation.
It's not like he didn't know he was planning to do this all along, but didn't bother to inform his constituents so that they could take it into consideration when making their decision which way to cast their vote.
"It only means that I am turning my entire focus to the issues facing the United States and Florida. This was a decision that I came to over the August recess as we began discussions on energy policies,’’ he said late Tuesday.
What's next for Adam Putnam?
Putnam declined to discuss his plans beyond the next two years to which he was overwhelmingly re-elected Tuesday. But local Republicans have said, they too, have heard of the rumored run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner in 2010 when Commissioner Charles Bronson will be term limited.
Four years after that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will reach his term limit.
In the end, the people of Florida District 12 lost because we could have elected Doug Tudor to represent us in Congress. Doug Tudor is a man of honor and integrity and would never have pulled a fast one on his constituents like Adam Putnam just did.
Two more years of Adam Putnam. Ugh!