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DeSantis, Putnam Lead Pack In GOP Nomination Race For Governor

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) - The two front-running Republicans vying for their party's nomination for Governor are spending their time drumming up last minute support.

The race to replace Republican Gov. Rick Scott caught the attention of President Donald Trump who has endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican primary over Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

That endorsement was the key reason why Josie Parke, 68, an interior designer in Coral Gables, voted for DeSantis in the primary election Tuesday.

"I believe in Trump's policies and while I don't love the way he opens his mouth too much, sometimes saying things that are not quite appropriate, I do believe that in his heart he really means well. He's doing things the way I like," said Parke, a Republican.

The latest Gravis Marketing poll among Republicans shows DeSantis winning the Republican nomination with ease. He has a 12 point lead over Putnam.

DeSantis stopped by Versailles in Little Havana on Monday as part of his Turn Out tour.

"I'm looking forward to a strong turn out for us and on to November. I think we are going to do well," he told a crowd of supporters.

DeSantis will host his election night watch party at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.

Putnam was elected to the state House in 1996 at the age of 22, elected to the U.S. House in 2000, and to his current job in 2010. He was considered a shoo-in for the Republican nomination. Then in December, Trump tweeted out his support for DeSantis, who wasn't even in the race at the time.

DeSantis announced his candidacy in January. While Putnam was focused on a grassroots campaign, DeSantis was an almost nightly feature on Fox News, usually defending Trump.

Putnam will hold his election watch party in Lakeland.

DeSantis and Putman are two of eight candidates in the Republican race for the gubernatorial nomination.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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