Florida’s August 28 primary election is now less than three months away and things are heating up on the campaign trail for candidates in the Republican and Democratic races for the governor’s office. Democratic candidates including former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Orlando businessman Chris King and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine faced off in their third debate on Monday. Billionaire and Palm Beach County real estate tycoon Jeff Greene officially filed paper work in early June to run for Governor as a Democrat as well. Despite Greene’s late entry and his absence from the debate stage so far, his substantial wealth has the potential to shake up the primary. Greene spent $30 million of his own money back in 2010 in a failed U.S. Senate bid.
On the Republican side, gubernatorial candidate and current Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Secretary Adam Putnam has been on the defensive, following a report in the Tampa Bay Times that his department failed to check the National Instant Criminal Background Check System on concealed-carry weapons’ permit applications in the state for more than a year between February of 2016 and March of 2017. Putnam’s primary contender in the GOP gubernatorial primary, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis has been quick to criticize his opponent over the background check lapse.
We’ll check in with Florida Gulf Coast University Political Science Professors Peter Bergerson, Ph.D., and Roger Green, Ph.D., for a closer analysis of the gubernatorial primary races and what distinguishes the platforms of candidates in both the Democratic and Republican primary races. We’ll also explore what results of the August Primary election will set up for the general election in November.