State Rep. Matt Caldwell on Monday formally launched his 2018 campaign for Florida agriculture commissioner, saying he plans to build a grass-roots campaign across the state. Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, made the announcement at Sun Harvest Citrus in Lee County. He touted his conservative credentials and discussed his family’s deep roots in Florida. He also pointed to the importance of water issues in the state. “Our most precious asset, our water, will continue to define our success,” Caldwell said. “Balancing the demands of growing cities with the needs of our farmers and our environment is the key issue on which the next commissioner of agriculture must be the leader.” The kickoff event came two weeks after Caldwell announced that he was running for the Cabinet post. He is poised for a Republican primary race against Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring. Orlando Republican Paul Paulson also has opened a campaign account for the primary. Incumbent Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam cannot seek another term in 2018 and is running for governor.
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