Supporters waving campaign signs and a warm cup of Cuban coffee awaited Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam this afternoon at La Carreta Restaurant on Bird Road in Miami.
"South Florida is an engine of our state," Putnam said. "Where would we be without the vibrant South Florida economy?"
In remarks, he focused on education reform, one of the six main issues in his "Florida First" approach. He plans to return vocational education to middle and high schools around the state, which he belives will help industries that currently have a shortage of workers due to a skills gap.
"We’ve got to put those skills back into our middle schools and high schools and stop forcing all of our students into crippling student loan debt," he said.
Other key issues for Putnam include protecting the stand-your-ground law, border security, veterans and building on the economic foundation of the incumbent governor, Rick Scott.
"It’s not enough just to build the condos for people as their second and third homes," Putnam said. "We want the kind of Florida economy where young people can find good paying careers here in Florida and not have to move away to find those jobs."
Polls published this week from Florida Atlantic University show Putnam just one point below his opponent, Ron DeSantis, with a seven point margin of error.
DeSantis has received an endorsement from President Trump.
"He’s not running on a plan, cause he doesn’t have a plan. He’s just running on an endorsement and Floridians deserve better than that," Putnam said. "We don’t want to import the toxic disfunction of Washington to our state, we’re doing great."
He then listed those who have endorsed him, including the Fraternal Order of Police, Associated Builders and Contractors of Florida, Lieutenant Governor of Florida Carlos López-Cantera, and "real Floridians" raising their families in the state.
"You passion, your energy, fueld by cortados, is what's going to get this done," he said.
The gubernatorial primary election is Tuesday, August 28.