District 12: Putnam has decisive win

Published November 3, 2004

Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam of Bartow had a commanding lead in his bid for re-election to Florida's 12th Congressional District, gaining two votes to every one for his opponent in his home base of Polk County with just eight precincts outstanding.

Putnam also led in Hillsborough County, where about half the votes were counted by press time. Democrat Robert Hagenmaier of Winter Haven, a retired scientist, led Putnam in Osceola County, but those 10 precincts were not enough.

Hagenmaier conceded the race shortly after 8 p.m., saying simply, "The game is over and he won."

"We're just real proud that the people have chosen to give me another opportunity to serve them in Washington," Putnam said.

Analysts fully expected Putnam to gain a third term. He held a 14-to-1 funding advantage coming into the final stretch, with Hagenmaier, 65, struggling to gain contributions outside of loans to himself.

Since first winning election to Congress in 1998, Putnam, 30, has been its youngest member. He is considered a staunch conservative and has been a strong supporter of President Bush. Putnam also is well known for his efforts to protect the citrus industry, the economic engine of Polk County. The district also includes a large portion of southeast Hillsborough County, including Sun City Center, Plant City and parts of Brandon.

He said he looked forward to bringing democracy to Iraq and then seeing the troops return home. He also wants to make Social Security viable for another generation of Americans.