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FL-Gov: New poll shows DeSantis leading, but in a virtual tie for his current Congressional seat

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) speaks during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee June 28, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A new poll shows DeSantis with a substantial lead over his opponent, Adam Putnam, in the race for the GOP nomination for Florida governor. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A new poll shows Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) with a 20 point lead over his opponent, Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam in the race to be the Republican nominee to be the next governor of Florida.

How does the governor race look?

This latest survey, conducted by St. Pete Polls, showed DeSantis leading Putnam 50 to 30. While this poll may be an outlier, it is part of a trend of polls that show DeSantis with a significant edge. A poll from the Republican polling firm Fabrizio-Lee showed DeSantis up 42 to 30. The Fabrizio-Lee poll had a margin of error of +/- 6.2 percentage points.

In June, polling in Florida showed the opposite result, with Putnam leading DeSantis 38 to 21 in a NBC News/Marist poll. The Florida Chamber of Commerce, which also endorsed Putnam, dismissed DeSantis's current lead. Florida Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Marian Johnson said she had also seen polling which showed :Putnam ahead.

One thing that may be providing a big boost to DeSantis is President Donald Trump's endorsement. While both candidates have repeatedly praised the president, DeSantis is the only one who has won his support. Politico reported that when voters were told that Trump supported DeSantis, the Congressman led 58 to 27. However, when they did not know about the endorsement, voters overwhelmingly supported Putnam by a 23 point margin.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. was in Orland campaigning for DeSantis. “Ron DeSantis here, from day one, he got it,” Trump Jr. said at a rally for DeSantis. “He saw it. He was with us when it wasn’t really cool to be with us. He was with us in the zero percent days.”

Johnson warned the Tampa Bay Times that while it may be helping him in the primary, DeSantis may be latching himself too closely to Trump to be effective in the general election.  "He [DeSantis] is going to tie himself so closely to Trump that it's a very, very strong possibility in the general you will have a Democratic governor."

Putnam, meanwhile, scored a lower-profile endorsement from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday. This comes just three days after Bondi turned down a request from the Florida League of Women Voters to investigate Putnam's alleged mishandling of background checks for gun licenses. Bondi instead told the organization to take up the matter with law enforcement or the Office of Inspector General, saying that she did not have authority to pursue that case.

What about DeSantis's Congressional seat?

While the race for governor may be widening, the race for DeSantis's soon-to-be-vacated (whether he wins or loses) seat in Congress looks like it could be tight. St. Pete's Polls, the same polling outfit that found DeSantis's 20 point lead, found all three candidates vying to replace DeSantis were polling well within the margin of error. Fed Costello, a member of the Florida House, held a slim lead at 21.1 percent. Businessman John Ward followed at 20.5 percent and Businessman Michael Waltz at 20 percent.

The margin for error on this poll is 4.5 percent — more than four times the gap between the first and last place candidates.

Primary elections in Florida will take place on August 28.

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