Scott Maddox -- the leading Democrat running for Agriculture Commissioner -- essentially held an "I told you so" press conference where he laid out his repeated calls against efforts to open up Florida's waters to oil drilling. After the Deepwater Horizon spill, he is asking all candidates for the Cabinet to sign a pledge against offshore oil drilling.
Under proposals bandied about by Legislative leaders, the Cabinet would vote on whether to grant drilling leases as close as three miles from Florida's coast. Maddox said he hopes the spill will "shame" his opponent, U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, into changing his mind on oil drilling.
“I think it’s astounding that four days after the explosion Adam Putnam was reaffirming his position in favor of off-shore and near-shore oil drilling,” Maddox said. “The most important thing is that we don’t face this type of risk very close to our shores.”
Putnam has been in favor of expanded drilling in the past, including a few days after the spill. (Though it's fair to say most people didn't grasp the magnitude of the spill until several days after it happened.) We've got a call out to his camp on the Maddox pledge, and we'll update you with his reaction.
UPDATE: Putnam's campaign e-mails this response: "I am deeply concerned about the economic and ecological damage the oil spill is causing. Everyone from the President on down has correctly said we should have a thorough investigation of its causes and the lack of preparedness of the industry to respond to a disaster before proceeding with any new exploration.
Unlike my lobbyist opponent, I have been focused for the past decade on homegrown sources of energy in Florida from agriculture, and a hundred other things relating to the job for which I am running. Maddox refuses to answer questions about the most basic issues facing agriculture and this position. Instead he uses this tragedy as to deflect his complete ignorance of the issues in this race and his own checkered past."