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Putnam to Leave House to Run for Ag Commissioner

Updated: 11:52 a.m. Rep. Adam Putnam (Fla.) will leave Congress to run for state agriculture commissioner, the GOP lawmaker told the Associated Press on Saturday. Elected in 2000 at the age of 26, Putnam said he will file the official paperwork to run for the post Monday. The Florida Republican had been viewed as a rising star in the Republican Conference but opted against running to retain his third-ranking post as Conference chairman in the 111th Congress. It was unclear on Sunday whether he would leave Congress midterm. Putnam’s staff could not be immediately reached for comment. Prior to the 2008 financial bailout bill in October, Putnam was among the young GOP House Members who political observers thought could continue to move up the leadership ladder. But his early support for the bailout plan introduced by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson was widely criticized inside the Republican Conference. His decision not to seek a second term as the House Republican Conference chairman came in the early hours of Nov. 5 after the GOP had absorbed another round of Election Day defeats. Putnam was taken under the tutelage of former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and rose quickly within the Republican ranks. In 2003, he was selected to serve as chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Census – one of the youngest Members to chair a subcommittee since World War II.

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