Candidate for Florida Governor Takes Big Sugar Money Amid Algae Bloom Controversy
By Craig Pittman
Florida politicians from both parties used to have a sweet tooth for campaign contributions from the state’s powerful sugar industry.
But now that Big Sugar is getting blamed for toxic algae blooms, a connection to the industry has turned into a political liability. This campaign season, only one person running for governor is still taking sugar’s money: Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
So far sugar companies and their affiliates have given Putnam’s campaign and his Florida Grown PAC $804,000 in direct contributions, a reward for a reliable ally. He’s also received $7.6 million from five political action committees that receive a significant portion of their contributions from the industry, or one out of every five dollars he has raised.
Putnam also is the only gubernatorial candidate defending the sugar companies from accusations that they deserve some or all of the blame for the pollution-fueled algae blooms mucking up Lake Okeechobee and threatening to ruin beach communities on both coasts.