Adam Putnam, Florida’s commissioner of agriculture and a Republican, has announced that he will run for governor in 2018. Gwen Graham, a former U.S. congresswoman and a Democrat, also has filed.

adam putnam

Adam Putnam is running for governor. / Contributed

Putnam is a fifth-generation Floridian. His position is officially called “commissioner of agriculture and consumer services,” though few media sources use that term.

As commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, he serves as one of three members of the Florida Cabinet. The other two are Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi.


(Atwater will resign his position on an unspecified date, sometime after the Florida Legislature ends its current session. Friday, May 5, is the last scheduled day for the session, though legislators are expected to run “overtime.”)

Putnam said in an email statement, “I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because I get to call Florida home. It’s our responsibility as Floridians to keep our economy at work, to increase access to high quality education, to fiercely protect our personal freedoms, to keep our state safe, and to welcome our veterans home with open arms.”

Putnam, who has the best name recognition among Republican candidates, grew up in the cattle and citrus industry. He has four children with his wife, Melissa.

On the Democratic side

Democratic opponents who already have filed to enter the race include Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum; attorney John Morgan; and Gwen Graham, a former U.S. congresswoman and daughter of Bob Graham, who served as a Florida governor and, later, U.S. senator.

Gwen Graham, the latest Democrat to file for the governor’s race, is shown at an unidentified farm during one of her “Graham Workdays.” / Contributed

Graham, the last Democrat so far to file and the only woman, announced her candidacy on May 2. She is, arguably, the Democrat with the best name recognition.

While campaigning and during her time in Congress, she has done what her father did when he ran for, and served as, governor: held “Graham Workdays.” She spends a day working at a job, alongside a person who usually performs it. Her jobs have included work on farms.

She is married to Stephen D. Hurm; they have three children.

According to her website, Graham has been “a fierce advocate for a woman’s right to choose and marriage equality. She joined with John Lewis and House Democrats in the sit-in to demand common-sense gun safety and voted to support President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) immigration programs.”

For more information on Adam Putnam, visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/adamputnam.

For more information on Gwen Graham, visit gwengraham.com.