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GOP Legislators Start Taking Sides in Attorney General Primary

June 24, 2017 - 6:00am
Jay Fant and Ashley Moody
Jay Fant and Ashley Moody

Republican office holders across Florida are starting to take sides in the primary to replace state Attorney General Pam Bondi who faces term limits next year. 

On Thursday afternoon, state Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, unveiled the support of seven of his fellow state legislators as Republican state Reps. Colleen Burton of Lakeland, Bob Cortes of Altamonte Springs, Julio Gonzalez of Venice, Joe Gruters of Sarasota, Stan McClain of Belleview, Mike Miller of Orlando and Rene Plasencia of Titusville lined up behind his bid. 

"I'm honored to have earned the support of these colleagues in the Florida House," Fant said. "I've worked alongside my fellow House members on legislation important to all Floridians, and I hope to continue working with them from the executive branch. We have a vision for Florida consistent with our values, that freedom comes first and that we have a duty to protect our citizens from too much government." 

"Jay Fant is the right conservative Republican for attorney general," said Miller. "He is both a businessman and an attorney and is uniquely suited to understand the needs of Florida's job creators and consumers." 

In the meantime, Ashley Moody, a former judge based in Hillsborough County, is looking to nail down her Tampa Bay homebase. Since entering the race, Moody has reeled in the support of many Tampa Bay Republicans including Bondi. 

Moody announced a major fundraiser in Tampa next week which will be hosted by former Gov. Bob Martinez, Bondi and a host of elected officials from the area. This week, Moody continued to unveil the support of local Republicans as three state senators--Tom Lee, Wilton Simpson, and Dana Young--endorsed her campaign. 

“Three great senators from our region have endorsed our campaign!" Moody announced on Tuesday. “Thank you Senators Simpson, Lee, and Young.”

On Wednesday, another state legislator--Rep. Jackie Toledo of Tampa--endorsed Moody. 

Outside of Fant and Moody, other possible contenders for the Republican nomination include U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and state Senate President Joe Negron. On the Democratic side, Ryan Torrens, an attorney based out of Odessa, filed to enter the race last month. Possible other Democratic candidates include former state Sen. Rod Smith and Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler. Winter Park attorney Ryan Yadav, who self funded a bid to topple state Rep. Bob Cortes last year that came up short, has also expressed some interest in running for the Democratic nomination. Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer, who was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for attorney general in 2014, could make another bid for the office. 


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