BARTOW (FOX 13) - It was a long-awaited announcement, and it came in Bartow under the scorching hot sun.
Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced that he is throwing his hat into the ring to become governor. He did it on the steps of the historic Old Polk County Courthouse on Wednesday.
"He has the same values as I have," said Ray Renfro, who drove from Winter Park. "We're conservative, Christian."
"He has great character and moral code, and I think people will see that," commented Taryn Boyer of Polk County.
Putnam grew up in Bartow where his roots go way back. His family has been raising cattle and growing citrus for generations.
"So I learned at an early age, riding groves late at night, checking pumps, checking temperatures, and assessing damage the following morning, then moving forward,'" Putnam recalled in front of thousands of enthusiastic supporters.
Along with remembering his past, Putnam painted a picture of what he thinks the future of the state should be.
"We have to put Florida first so that we're more than a prize for a life well-lived elsewhere," he said. "We can make Florida the launch pad to make America great."
Putnam has extensive support in Polk County and the agricultural community. Experts are watching to see if he can garner the same kind of support in the state's metropolitan areas.