State Rep. Sean Shaw officially threw his name in the ring to become Florida’s next Attorney General on Tuesday.
Shaw, a Tampa Democrat, made the announcement in Tallahassee. Shaw has represented Florida’s 61st district since 2016 but was rumored to be contemplating a bid for higher office for the last several months.
“I'm running for Attorney General to uphold the rule of law, keep our state safe, & to protect the rights of ALL Floridians,” Shaw wrote on Tuesday. “Together, let's bring a true independent watchdog to the AG's office!”
Shaw has worked as a private insurance attorney and previously served as Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate. He is the son of Leander Shaw, the state’s first black chief justice and the second black Supreme Court justice.
Shaw painted himself as a commonsense candidate who would fight for the rights of all Floridians, regardless of their differing backgrounds.
“The rule of law should act as the ultimate equalizer for everyone, no matter where you’re from, what God you worship, or who you love,” Shaw said.
Shaw took a swipe at current Attorney General Pam Bondi and at Republicans who have dominated the state’s political culture for the last 20 years. Shaw accused Bondi of turning a “blind eye” to the state’s opioid crisis, a public health emergency which has left thousands dead in recent years.
Over 5,700 people died from opioid overdoses in Florida last year, an increase of 35 percent from 2015.
“The people of our state should be able to count on their Attorney General to protect them, to always enforce the rule of law not to have someone concerned with how their comments will play out on Fox News,” Shaw said at his announcement.
If elected, Shaw said he would protect Floridians from big banks and insurance companies attempting to prey on consumers and vowed to fight back against the opioid crisis raging across the Sunshine State.
“No longer will Florida sit on the sidelines as other states battle to end this opioid epidemic,” he said. “We simply cannot wait any longer.”
Now the second Democrat in the race, Shaw has already gathered support from some of the state’s most prominent political figures and attorneys.
Orlando attorney John Morgan, a prominent fundraiser for the Democratic Party, sang Shaw’s praises on social media last month.
“Sean Shaw is a future national superstar,” Morgan tweeted. “His father was a legend. @SShawFL is a future legend. National money will pour into this guy."
Republicans, however, were not as convinced Shaw would be the right choice for Florida Attorney General.
"Sean Shaw is an extreme liberal who would put his personal political agenda ahead of anything else -- including the law," said Republican Attorneys General Association executive director Scott Will. "Shaw would join progressive Democrats across America as an activist attorney general -- legislating through the court at every turn. This is an affront to our system of government and speaks volumes about Shaw's disrespect for Floridians."
Democratic lawyer Ryan Torrens has also declared he’ll run for the seat. On the Republican side, state Reps. Jay Fant, Ross Spano and Frank White and former judge Ashley Moody have both announced their runs and the field could get more crowded as time goes on.
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