Congressman Ron DeSantis, Republican candidate for Governor, went after fellow candidate Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam during a series of campaign stops Saturday in Northwest Florida.
DeSantis accused Putnam of being so busy running for governor that he was ignoring his current job.
Speaking to reporters after an event in Pensacola, DeSantis said, “It seems like he wasn’t minding the store when we needed him to be there, and I also want to know why, if this report was done a year ago, are we just now finding out about this?” DeSantis added, “Why weren’t some of the deficiencies communicated to Gov. Scott, to FDLE, to other people who would be interested in the fact that you may have people who are not eligible getting permits to conceal carry?”
The Tampa Bay Times unearthed a 2017 state government report that exposed the Florida Department of Agriculture did not conduct one type of background checks for people applying for a concealed weapons permit during a 14 month period starting in 2016. On Saturday, Putnam pushed back on the report claiming 365 applicants were not run through a background check data base because of a negligent employee.
DeSantis appeared in Northwest Florida with fellow Congressman, and frequent Fox News guest Matt Gaetz. Congressman Gaetz accused Putnam of shifting the blame to the state employee.
“I was discouraged that Adam Putnam chose to throw his employees under the bus rather than taking some ownership over the fact that there wasn’t adequate oversight and adequate redundancy over something that is so important to public safety,” Gaetz said. “I think that real leaders they step forward and take responsibility when things do not go right and we did not see that from Adam Putnam.”
DeSantis and Putnam will face off in the Republican primary for Governor on August 28.