February 1st, 2009
11:45 AM ET
9 years ago

Ex-House GOP leadership member leaving Congress

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Florida Rep. Adam Putnam, a former member of the House Republican leadership, said Sunday he will leave Congress to run for agriculture commissioner in his home state next year.

Putnam, the former chairman of the House Republican Conference, said he would file paperwork Monday to seek the office in 2010.

"It's always been well known that my first love is Florida," Putnam told CNN in a brief telephone interview.

Putnam, 34, rose quickly through Republican ranks after winning his first term in the House of Representatives in 2000. He became GOP conference chairman - the No. 3 post in the party's leadership - in 2006.

But he opted out of seeking the leadership post again after November's Republican losses. Meanwhile, rank-and-file conservatives in the House criticized the leadership's support of the Bush administration's $700 billion financial bailout.

Putnam said his decision had less to do with life in the House minority and more about wanting to return home to focus on agriculture and food safety issues. His family's business is in the citrus and cattle industries.

"I'm a Floridian first," he said, adding, "Despite being in my fifth term, I haven't caught Potomac Fever yet."

Putnam said he intends to serve out the remainder of his current term.

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Meka

    Good . . . we need a Democrat in that seat!

    February 1, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. John, Brooklyn, New York

    As Mitch McConnell said earlier this week, it looks like the Republicans are digressing into becoming nothing more than a regional party of the South. Putnam is a case in point.

    February 1, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. BB

    Hmmm – maybe the smell is getting so bad in the RNC that the rats are just deserting the ship.

    How many have already said they won't run again?

    February 1, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. mb

    Smart move on his part.

    February 1, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Dan, TX

    Thanks for your service. Good luck back in Florida. I understand the Citrus tristesza virus and citrus greening disease is going to destroy the Florida citrus industry within 50 years because of global warming, so good luck with your family citrus business.

    February 1, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. shoegazer

    "Potomac Fever",is that the malady that makes you squeal like a pig,wallow in the mud and spend your days with your nose in the trough?There seems to be alot of that going around.

    February 1, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. rich

    Smart man. He sees the handwriting on the wall. The GOP is in the dog house, and will be in it for years to come. Realizing this, he figured there is no future in Washington as a GOP. There must be greener pastures elsewhere. It's never too late to try to jump from a sinking ship even if you don't make it and go under.

    February 1, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  8. Tatyana

    Hi im tatyana and im in High School and I do not get why the GOP is in the dog house and why is such a good thing that the GOP is leaving?

    February 1, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  9. Jay

    Ah yes Potomac Fever. All of you hypocritical democrats or "independents" who have posted can ask John Dingell, Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy what all of that sloghing around and nose-troughing is all about. Your postings make me laugh. The man is a well-respected member and sees fit to aspire to other offices and accomplish other goals. He should be congratulated for innoculating himself against "the Fever" and getting out after 5 terms, but it's convenient for these type of people to post as such and use an event like this for their own hypocritical, political interests. Shame on you and best of luck to Mr. Putnam in his new endeavors.

    February 2, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |