Florida: Ross Emerges as Party Favorite for Putnam Seat

Posted May 4, 2009 at 6:38pm

It’s becoming clear that former state Rep. Dennis Ross (R) is his party’s top choice to replace retiring Rep. Adam Putnam (R) in the 12th district.

Ross is back in Washington, D.C., this week for a second round of meetings with National Republican Congressional Committee officials, and he’s also scheduled events with other political interest groups. After meeting with NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) during his first visit, Ross will get face time today and Wednesday with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), GOP Reps. Dave Camp (Mich.) and Lamar Smith (Texas) and officials at the National Rifle Association.

Ross, who has already secured endorsements from several Members of the Florida delegation and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R), will also be back on Capitol Hill on May 12 and 13 for fundraisers at the swanky Capitol Hill eateries Bistro Bis and Sonoma.

The Florida attorney turned some heads in Washington by raising more than $100,000 in four weeks of campaigning before the first-quarter filing deadline.

But Ross is going to need all the money he can get in a district that has been trending increasingly Democratic in recent years. After former President George W. Bush won the district by 16 points in 2004, President Barack Obama lost by a single point last year in the central Florida district.

Democratic insiders on Capitol Hill are high on former state Rep. Lori Edwards in the open-seat race, but 2008 nominee Doug Tudor is also running again.