Pam Bondi's Rivals Try to Chip Away at her Lead
Around the State
With seven weeks to go until the primary, the two Democrats running for their party’s nomination to challenge Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi are firing away at her while she continues to look toward November.
House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, launched a website on Tuesday hoping to chronicle Bondi’s missteps in office.
“Today, we launched Bondisbungles.com,” Thurston informed supporters. “We are calling Pam Bondi out on every mess she has made the last four years in Tallahassee.”
Former DCF Secretary George Sheldon, making his second bid for the Democratic attorney-general nomination, went after Bondi last week, attacking her for supporting Hobby Lobby’s challenge to the federal government which led to the Supreme Court ruling at the end of last month that business owners can object for religious reasons to being forced to cover birth control due to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.
“To win more points with the right-wing ‘our way or the highway’ people, Pam Bondi joined with the usual collection of tea party attorneys general in filing an amicus brief against the interests of women,” Sheldon said last week. “Why does Pam Bondi keep trying to deny health care to people? Why does Pam Bondi keep siding with private corporations instead of people? Pam Bondi has again proven that she cares more about helping corporations and far-right causes than she does about assisting the millions of women throughout our state. Floridians deserve an attorney general who will fight for them, not private corporate interests.”
Sheldon continued his attacks against Bondi, bashing her for defending Florida’s traditional marriage law which was approved by voters at the ballot in 2008. On Tuesday, Sheldon ripped “Bondi's desperate attempts to justify her intolerance for equality” as she continues to defend the state Constitution which mandates only traditional marriage is recognized in Florida.
In the meantime, Bondi continues to build her lead in the money chase. By June 27, the end of the last period for which reports were filed, Bondi had raised almost $1.4 million and had kept almost all of it in the bank, spending less than $76,000 so far in the campaign. Sheldon brought in $264,000 by June 27 but he kept little of that on hand, already spending $255,000, leaving his campaign account near empty. Thurston hasn’t kept pace, raising $153,000 by June 27 and spending $50,000.
Bondi garnered more support on Tuesday as the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) endorsed her for a second term on Tuesday, pointing to her record on public safety, fights against human trafficking, efforts against drugs and leading efforts to crack down on pill mills.
“Attorney General Pam Bondi has always demonstrated her commitment to law enforcement and the safety of our citizens,” said Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow, the president of the FPCA. “We look forward to her continued leadership and support.”
The FPCA is the fourth largest state Police Chiefs Association in the country and is composed of 750 of the state's top law enforcement executives.
"Based on her record, Attorney General Pam Bondi is the clear choice for re-election as Florida's top law enforcement officer," said Amy Mercer, the executive director of the FPCA. "The Florida Police Chiefs are proud to support her."
Tallahassee attorney Bill Wohlsifer, the Libertarian in the race, also turned up the heat on Bondi this week for “fighting tooth and nail against handgun rights" and “fighting to put the burden of proof of self-defense on the accused rather than on the state.” Wohlsifer asked why Republicans backed her.
“I wonder if they realize that she thinks the government belongs in your bedroom?” Wohlsifer asked about Bondi’s financial supporters. “Do those donors really want to be controlled by an overbearing government? Why would any limited government, Second Amendment advocate, rule of law, and champion of liberty Republican contribute to an incumbent candidate with that kind of record?”
By June 27, Wohlsifer raised $11,250, loaned his campaign $7,200 and spent $17,665.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.