George Sheldon Knocks Off Perry Thurston in Democratic AG Primary
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George Sheldon will be facing off against Republican Pam Bondi after clinching a victory in the Democratic primary Tuesday.
Sheldon handily won the primary, taking 62 percent of the vote against state Rep. Perry Thurston, who took 38 percent.
Sheldon, 67, has a long history in Florida politics, serving as a state representative and as deputy attorney general for Central Florida under Attorney General Bob Butterworth. In 2008, Sheldon became the secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families under former Gov. Charlie Crist.
The road to victory wasn’t entirely easy for Sheldon, though. Sheldon’s Florida residency had been challenged because he was living and working in Washington, D.C., for two years in the Obama administration. He owns a home in Tallahassee. Under Florida’s Constitution, candidates must live in the state for the entire seven years before an election.
It was only last week that a Leon County judge ruled he could stay on the ballot for Tuesday’s election.
Sheldon faces an uphill battle against Bondi, who had significantly outraised both Democratic candidates in fundraising. Sheldon raised $326,000 and spent $309,701 as of earlier this month and had taken $21,000 in in-kind contributions.
Bondi, on the other hand, has already raised a whopping $3.5 million in her own campaign and political committee and is expected to get a helping hand from the Republican Party of Florida.
Sheldon has been particularly critical of Bondi’s opposition to an amendment to legalize marijuana in Florida as well as her position against gay marriage.
Bondi said she’d welcome a debate against her Democratic opponent, saying voters deserved to hear directly from the candidates on their stances on issues.
“They deserve to hear directly from us on the distinct difference in visions and leadership that each candidate will offer to the attorney general’s office,” said Bondi in a statement. “This can be accomplished through thoughtful and respectful dialogue worthy of our great state.”
The general election will be held Nov. 4.
Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or folow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.