Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam, pictured speaking to the Polk County Board of Commissioners in December of 2018.

A friend called a few days ago to ask if I had seen a two-line letter to the editor in a nearby newspaper.

I had not.

It asked, simply: “Anyone missing Adam Putnam right about now?”

My friend asked what my response would be.

“Yeah,” I replied, “a whole lot.”

Since I am no longer owner of the papers in which my column is published, I generally steer clear of anything resembling a political endorsement. That decision properly rests with the publisher (or editor, depending on the organizational hierarchy).

But I will willingly stick my neck out to say that Adam Putnam was my enthusiastic choice for governor, and the performance of the candidate who defeated him has only convinced me that my choice was the better one.

Until a few weeks before the election, Adam appeared to be a sure thing for election as governor.

He was elected to the Florida Legislature for a term that began only shortly after he reached the legal age to serve, and later was elected to Congress, where he worked his way up to the third-ranking Republican position in the House of Representatives.

He chose to give up his ever-growing position of influence in Congress because one of his major responsibilities was to attack positions of the Democratic Party. Adam preferred to build consensus. I like that.

After serving two terms as Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam seemed a sure thing to be Florida’s next governor.

Shortly before the primary election, President Trump announced his support for Adam’s opponent, Ron DeSantis, which was enough to ensure DeSantis’s election. As a general rule, elected officials don’t take sides in primary elections within their own party, but that is their choice.

After the ensuing legislative session, a central Florida legislator has reported, in speeches to constituents, asking DeSantis why he vetoed several bills filed by members of the area’s legislative delegation. The governor replied that this was his way of punishing central Florida voters who voted for Putnam.

So do I miss Adam? Yes, without apology.

Ron DeSantis has been a predictable follower of Donald Trump. When DeSantis speaks, you can hardly see Trump’s lips move.

Adam Putnam thinks for himself.

Whether Adam will challenge DeSantis for a second term as governor, I do not know. Adam has occasionally listened to my advice, but has never asked for it.

I will offer the same observation I have made many times:

Adam Putnam would make a great governor for Florida, and would be a great president of the United States.

To those who scoff at my observation, I reply, “Which of our last half a dozen presidents do you think did a better job than Adam would have done?”

I have not yet gotten an answer.

(S. L. Frisbie is retired. He feels entitled to refer to Putnam by his first name since Adam was baptized and raised in S. L.’s church, and his parents have been S. L.’s friends since childhood. He hopes to live long enough to attend Adam’s inauguration as president … for a second term.)