Adam Putnam

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Adam Putnam
Adam Putnam.jpg
11th Agriculture Commissioner of Florida
In office
January 4, 2011 – January 8, 2019
GovernorRick Scott
Preceded byCharles Bronson
Succeeded byNikki Fried
Chair of the House Republican Conference
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
LeaderJohn Boehner
Vice ChairKay Granger
Preceded byDeborah Pryce
Succeeded byMike Pence
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
In office
February 1, 2006 – January 3, 2007
LeaderDennis Hastert
Preceded byJohn Shadegg
Succeeded byThad McCotter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 12th district
In office
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byCharles Canady
Succeeded byDennis Ross
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 63rd district
In office
November 5, 1996 – November 7, 2000
Preceded byDean Saunders[1]
Succeeded byDennis Ross
Personal details
Adam Hughes Putnam

(1974-07-31) July 31, 1974 (age 46)
Bartow, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Melissa Putnam
ChildrenAdam Hughes Putnam Junior (Youngest)

Emma Putnam Libby Putnam

Abbie Putnam (Oldest)
EducationUniversity of Florida (BS)
WebsiteOfficial website

Adam Hughes Putnam (born July 31, 1974) is an American politician and a Republican who served as Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture from 2011 to 2019. He served in Congress for five terms, representing the Central Florida-based 12th Congressional district. He was the House Republican Conference Chair from 2007 to 2009.

In May 2017, he announced he was running for Florida governor in the 2018 election. Putnam was initially considered the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, but lost the primary to Congressman Ron DeSantis after President Donald Trump came out in open support of DeSantis. DeSantis went on to win the general election.[2]

On March 13, 2019, it was announced that he would become the next CEO of Ducks Unlimited, starting June 30, 2019 after the retirement of Dale Hall.

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Putnam addressing a House Committee in 1998

Putnam was born in Bartow, Florida, the son of Sarah Elizabeth (née Hughes) and William Dudley Putnam II. He graduated from Bartow High School and attended the University of Florida, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in food and resource economics.

In 1996, Putnam was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, representing parts of Polk County. At 22 years old, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Florida Legislature.[3] He was reelected to a second term in 1998. While in the state house, he served as chair of the Agriculture Committee.[4]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

In 2000, Putnam ran for the U.S. House seat being vacated by retiring Congressman Charles Canady. The district, numbered the 12th, included all of Putnam's home constituency as well as other areas of Polk County and rural Central Florida. He faced no opposition in the Republican primary, and defeated Democrat Mike Stedem in the general election, 57 to 43%.[5] Taking office when he was 26 years old, Putnam was the youngest member of Congress from 2001 to 2005. Putnam was reelected in 2002 to a redistricted seat that included most of Polk County as well as parts of neighboring Hillsborough and Osceola Counties.[6] He was reelected three more times after that, serving a total of ten years in Congress.

Committee assignments[edit]


On October 10, 2002, Putnam voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq.[7]

In February 2006, Putnam became a member of the House leadership, assuming the role of chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, the fifth-ranking Republican leadership position in the House. In November 2006, Putnam was elected by his colleagues as House Republican Conference Chairman, the third-highest ranking position.[8] Following House Republican losses in the 2008 general election, he resigned his post as Conference Chairman. In 2010 The Florida Independent reported that Putnam had earmarked $100,000 for an abscission chemical used in citrus harvesting that The Florida Independent said would benefit his family's citrus business.[9]

Putnam was a signatory to the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.[10] The American Conservative Union gave him a 91% evaluation.

Gonzales' ouster[edit]

After the numerous calls by Democrats, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Putnam became the top Republican in either house to call for the ouster of former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. "For the good of the nation, I think it is time for fresh leadership at the Department of Justice", Putnam said.[11] This was met with surprise by many Republicans, who were remaining silent on the Gonzales issue. However, Putnam mentioned that there remained severe discontent within the GOP circle over Gonzales and as the Chairman of the House Republican Conference, he thought that it was important to send this message out.[11]

Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services[edit]

In February 2009, Putnam declared himself a candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services in the 2010 election and that he would not seek a sixth term in Congress.[12] Putnam won the election over Democratic opponent Scott Maddox with 56% of the vote. He was reelected in 2014.

As head of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Putnam was responsible for issuing concealed weapons permits after conducting background checks on applicants.[13][14] An investigation by the Office of Inspector General found that from February 2016 until May 2017 the department stopped conducting national background checks on applicants for concealed weapons permits, because a worker could not log into an FBI database. More than 100,000 concealed carry permits were issued during this period without full screening. Putnam later said that 365 applicants should have been further backgrounded, and that 291 permits ended up being revoked for noncriminal disqualifying factors (drug abuse, mental illness, fugitives).[15] Putnam pointed out that concealed carry permits do not allow gun purchases, which require a background check at the time of purchase. Florida Governor Rick Scott said that the incident was "disturbing" and "concerning" adding, "People need to do their jobs. This is public safety."[13] Additional failures in conducting proper reviews of gun permit applications were reported in a 2012 report of the inspector general, including the issuance of gun licenses to felons, which occurred during the first years of Putnam's tenure, although certain instances occurred before Putnam's tenure.[16]

In response to the 2013 series Worst Charities in America by the Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR)—the result of a year-long joint investigation,[17] in 2014 Putnam crafted CS/SB 638 and CS/HB 629—legislation that was intended to crack down on "fraudulent and deceptive organizations" to prevent them from misusing charitable contributions donated by residents of Florida. The legislation "had passed two of their three referenced committees" by March 2014.[18][19]

Gubernatorial campaign[edit]

In May 2017, Putnam announced his campaign for Florida governor in the 2018 election. He was one of eight candidates running for the Republican party nomination but was defeated in the 2018 primary by Ron DeSantis[2] As of April 2018, Putnam's campaign had acquired $19.2 million in campaign contributions, far more than any other candidate.[20] His PAC, Florida Grown, has received large contributions from Walt Disney Company ($824,442 ), Publix ($736,000), Florida Power and Light ($587,060), and U.S. Sugar ($560,000).[21] The donations from Publix to Adam Putnam drew public protest, including a die-in at a Publix supermarket, resulting from Putnam's claim of being a "proud NRA sell-out."[22][23]

Electoral history[edit]

Florida State House 63rd District Election, 1996
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam 23,717 57.26
Democratic Bob Stein 17,703 42.74
Florida State House 63rd District Election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam (inc.) 20,568 61.76
Democratic Kim Grady 12,736 38.24
Florida's 12th Congressional District Election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam 125,224 57.0
Democratic Mike Stedem 94,395 43.0
Write-in Rubye Harrison 3 0.0
Write-in Don Kennedy 3 0.0
Florida's 12th Congressional District Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam (inc.) n/a 100.0
Florida's 12th Congressional District Republican Primary Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam (inc.) 42,605 92.3
Republican Robert Wirengard 3,546 7.7
Florida's 12th Congressional District Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam (inc.) 179,204 64.9
Democratic Bob Hagenmaier 96,965 35.1
Florida's 12th Congressional District Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam (inc.) 124,452 69.1
No Party Affiliation Joe Viscusi 34,976 19.4
No Party Affiliation Ed Bowlin 20,636 11.5
Florida's 12th Congressional District Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam (inc.) 185,698 57.5
Democratic Doug Tudor 137,465 42.5
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam 2,908,086 55.9
Democratic Scott Maddox 1,983,277 38.1
TEA Party Ira Chester 203,598 3.9
No Party Affiliation Thad Hamilton 103,717 2.0
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Adam Putnam (inc.) 3,342,392 58.7
Democratic Thaddeus "Thad" Hamilton 2,356,178 41.3
Write-in Jeffrey Obos 213 0.0


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Bouffard, Kevin (2017-05-01). "Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam running for governor". Lakeland Ledger. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  3. ^ D'Angelo, Bob (2016-11-11). "College student becomes youngest elected to Florida House of Representatives". WFXT. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  4. ^ "Florida House of Representatives - Adam H. Putnam - 1998 - 2000 ( Speaker Thrasher )". Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  5. ^ "Florida Department of State - 2000 Election Results". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  6. ^ "2002 Congressional Plan". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  7. ^ Vite in favor of invasion of Iraq,; accessed January 22, 2015.
  8. ^ "Putnam gets No. 3 House GOP leadership post",, November 17, 2006.
  9. ^ Chamlee, Virginia. "Florida representatives receive low marks from taxpayer watchdog group" Archived 2010-09-05 at the Wayback Machine, The Florida Independent, August 23, 2010; retrieved January 22, 2015.
  10. ^ Current Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed January 22, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Smith, Donna. "House Republican Leader Says Gonzales Should Go", Reuters, 2007-04-20; retrieved 2010-10-28.
  12. ^ "Putnam to give up seat". The Politico. Associated Press. 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  13. ^ a b "Adam Putnam: His agency called for audit that found missing background checks and fired worker".
  14. ^ Contorno, Steve. "Adam Putnam's office stopped concealed weapons background checks for a year because it couldn't log in". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  15. ^ Steve Almasy; Ralph Ellis. "Florida revoked 291 concealed weapons permits after an employee stopped reviewing background checks". CNN. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  16. ^ "Concealed weapon permit review finds mistakes in Florida".
  17. ^ Hundley, Kris; Taggart, Kendall (November 14, 2013). "Lack of regulation and meager penalties allow worst charities to thrive". Tampa Bay Times. Times/CIR special report. Retrieved December 20, 2017. republished and updated on October 2, 2017
  18. ^ "Legislative Link". United Way. March 21, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  19. ^ Mitchell, Tia (January 14, 2014). "Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam proposing 'complete rewrite of Florida's charity laws'". Tampa Bay Times. Tallahassee, Florida. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  20. ^ Dixon, Matt (April 11, 2018). "Putnam campaign war chest larger than other major gubernatorial candidates combined". Politico. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  21. ^ Swisher, Skyler; Chokey, Aric (May 30, 2018). "From Disney to Big Sugar, Publix isn't the only big-name Florida business backing Adam Putnam". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  22. ^ Eltagouri, Marwa (May 25, 2018). "Publix halts donations to self-described 'NRA sellout' amid boycott, 'die-in' protests by David Hogg". The Washington Post.
  23. ^ "Publix halts campaign donations minutes before students stage 'die-in' protests".

External links[edit]

Florida House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dean Saunders
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 63rd district

Succeeded by
Dennis Ross
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles Canady
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 12th congressional district

Succeeded by
Dennis Ross
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Harold Ford
Baby of the House
Succeeded by
Patrick McHenry
Party political offices
Preceded by
John Shadegg
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
Succeeded by
Thad McCotter
Preceded by
Deborah Pryce
Chair of the House Republican Conference
Succeeded by
Mike Pence
Preceded by
Charles H. Bronson
Republican nominee for Agriculture Commissioner of Florida
2010, 2014
Succeeded by
Matt Caldwell
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles H. Bronson
Agriculture Commissioner of Florida
Succeeded by
Nikki Fried