Vets for Freedom PAC of Florida Makes a Boo-Boo

While perusing sites yesterday I noticed a release on the RPOF site announcing, “Congressman Adam Putnam endorsed by Vets for Freedom PAC of Florida.”

And this got me thinking (yeah it happens sometimes):

Why would Vets for Freedom get involved before a primary?

Why would the Vets for Freedom endorsement announcement get made while Rep. Putnam’s primary opponent (State Sen. Carey Baker) is on his two-week active duty committment to the Florida Army National Guard?

I’ve got no beef with Adam Putnam, IMO he’s been a fantastic Congressman and I think he’d make a fine Agriculture Commissioner. I was just curious about why this was done.

So I sent this message to Vets for Freedom:

I don’t understand the actions taken by the Vets for Freedom PAC – Florida Chapter today to endorse a candidate in the race for Florida Agriculture Commissioner. Adam Putnam and Carey Baker are awesome candidates. I’m just wondering why you would NOT support a candidate that is a First Sergeant in the Florida Army National Guard. Why would you announce support of his primary opponent while Sen. Baker is completing his two-week National Guard obligation. Again, I have no issue with Rep. Putnam, he’s a fantastic guy. I think your efforts today were misplaced at best. I’m not a member of your organization and as a recent retiree from the US Navy (20+ years) I begin to wonder if I should. Thanks for your time and thanks for listening.

I received this reply from Pete Hegseth, Chairman:


Thank you for the email, and your concerns are all well placed.  In short, we made an oversight on this one.  While we completely stand by our endorsement of Putnam, we did not even know that an Iraq vet was running against him.  Had we known this fact, we would have probably taken a different approach.

We are currently reviewing the situation, talking to the Baker folks, and discussing various options.

Thank you for your correspondence, and please don’t hesitate to contact me regarding anything further on this topic.


Pete Hegseth

I also received this response from Will Bennett, the Florida leader:

Thank you for writing and voicing your concern.
The primary reason we endorsed Rep. Putnam was because he is in a Federal position and VFF Florida PAC is organized to support Federal candidates.  We reviewed Rep. Putnam’s Congressional voting record and found it to be entirely in line with supporting victory in the war on terror and supporting our troops through funding, training, and protection of benefits.  When I spoke with Rep. Putnam, I was impressed by his commitment to the security of the United States and his unflinching support of our troops.  When his campaign manager asked me if Vets for Freedom would consider endorsing him, I forwarded his name to the national office.  Generally, VFF PAC does not endorse non-Federal candidates.  We made an exception in this case due to Rep. Putnam’s long history of support as noted above.
At the time of my discussion with the Putnam campaign, I was unaware of State Senator Baker’s candidacy.  In this, I should have done my homework.  It would appear that Sen. Baker also has a strong military history and has served his country faithfully for many years.  I respect and appreciate his service and wish him the best of luck during the upcoming campaign.  If I had known of Sen. Baker’s candidacy, we would have worked towards deciding how to support two candidates who have both served their country, one in uniform service during wartime and one through staunch political support for legislation which has improved our national security and supported our troops.
As for the timing of the release, the endorsement was completed nearly two months ago and was released via email by the Putnam Campaign last month.  It would seem that the Putnam campaign updated it’s web page today with the endorsement.
Hopefully this has helped shed some light on why I wrote an endorsement for Rep. Putnam.  Please feel free to contact me with further comments or questions.
Kind Regards,
Will Bennett

It would seem to me, that before you go endorsing candidates for ANY office, you might take a look their primary candidates and such.

While I certainly support the work that Vets for Freedom does, I think they could have done a better job here.