Florida Democratic battle for Attorney General — may not happenby John Kennedy | October 27th, 2013
Florida Democrats attempting to gain a seat on the state Cabinet face a possible slugfest for one — the race for Attorney General.
George Sheldon, an ex-deputy to former longtime Democratic Attorney General Bob Butterworth, delivered his campaign speech Sunday morning to party activists gathered at Disney World, a day after new rival, Perry Thurston, introduced himself to the crowd. Sheldon directed his fire at Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Sheldon said she was “not just right-wing, she’s wrongheaded.”
He went on to blister Bondi over leading the legal challenge by two dozen states opposing the Affordable Care Act. But his harshest assessment came of Bondi’s push last month to reschedule an execution because it conflicted with her planned campaign kick-off fundraiser.
“She should’ve resigned,” Sheldon said, drawing cheers from those gathered at the Democratic conference.
Thurston announced his candidacy Saturday. His speech later to conference delegates was mostly pegged to his role as state House Democratic leader, although he, too, managed to plug his new candidacy.
Florida’s three Cabinet posts are held by Republicans who, with Gov. Rick Scott, give the GOP command of the state’s executive branch. The Legislature also is led by Republicans, with Thurston topping the outnumbered ranks of House Democrats.
Bondi has already raised more than $400,000 for her campaign and has received another $220,000 from the Florida Republican Party for rent, staff, travel and other costs, state records show. And the prospect of a Democratic primary for attorney general is not something party leaders are seeking.
Christian Ulvert, the Florida Democratic Party’s political director, said Sunday that “something might be worked out.” Sheldon also told the Post that talks may soon be underway that look intended to get Thurston to drop his candidacy to avoid a costly intraparty clash.
“I hate that this comes down to money,” Sheldon said. “But it’s expensive to run these Cabinet races.”