November 18, 2006

Putnam ascends Republican ranks

WASHINGTON - House Republicans elevated Rep. Adam Putnam on Friday to the third-ranking post of their leadership team, assuring the quick climber from Bartow a prominent profile in the GOP's quest to regain the majority in 2008.

The 32-year-old father of four joins Sen. Mel Martinez, whom President Bush this week tapped as general chairman of the Republican National Committee, at the top of the GOP structure.

Putnam supports giving legal status to illegal immigrants already in the country as well as tough border enforcement measures. Martinez, a critic of the enforcement-only approach espoused by many in the GOP, will be the national party's top spokesman, amplifying Florida's influence on this issue and others.

As chairman of the Republican Conference, Putnam will be the chief communicator for the minority leadership, shaping the party's public message and overarching policy priorities as the GOP works to reclaim power.

Some members of the conservative Republican Study Committee griped that the party had not adequately received the message voters sent last week: that the GOP had strayed from its base. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said conservatives would continue to agitate for change.

Lakeland Ledger story here.

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