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Democrats link roller coaster failure to Adam Putnam

Florida Democrats are framing a recent roller coaster crash in Daytona Beach as the “latest example of incompetence at Adam Putnam’s Agriculture Department.”

In a news release emailed statewide Saturday, the Florida Democratic Party highlighted how the Thursday night derailment came hours after state inspectors approved the Sand Blaster roller coaster for operation. The incident injured nine when “a car derailed and sent two riders plunging three stories to the ground,” the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the agency that employs the inspectors, is overseen by Putnam. In a Friday statement, an agency spokeswoman confirmed the inspectors OK’d the roller coaster.

“Just [Thursday], department inspectors conducted a thorough inspection of the ride, and it was found in compliance with state law,” reads an agency news release. The department has launched a follow-up investigation. 

But that’s too little, too late, according to FDP.

“Putnam has spent almost a year running for governor instead of doing his job — and Floridians are paying the price,” said FDP spokesperson Kevin Donohoe.

The Democrats point to a Tampa Bay Times report last week that detailed how an employee at the Agriculture Department failed for more than a yearlong period to conduct a sometimes-required background check on Floridians who applied for a concealed-carry weapons permit.

“Every week, there’s a new report about Adam Putnam’s department failing to do its job,” Donohoe charged. “Putnam has created a culture of mismanagement, lack of accountability and incompetence at the Department of Agriculture.”

When it comes to who should receive the Republican nod in August, the Democratic Party appears to prefer Putnam’s opponent, Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis. This suggests that the Democrats think they have a better chance of beating the Donald Trump-endorsed Ponte Vedra Beach Congressman in November than they do with Putnam. Included the email are a few DeSantis’ recent attacks on the Agriculture Commissioner.

Written By

Danny McAuliffe is a Tallahassee correspondent for Florida Politics. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he served as the editor of the FSView & Florida Flambeau. He is a lifelong Floridian and indulges in swimming, hiking, running and memes when the news cycle permits. Reach him at dmcauliffe500@gmail.com.

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