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Moody, Shaw Showdown Sets Up Historic Florida Attorney General Race

Attorney General candidates, Republican Ashley Moody and Democrat Sean Shaw
Ashley Moody's campaign website/Sean Shaw's Facebook page
Attorney General candidates, Republican Ashley Moody and Democrat Sean Shaw

After winning their Primaries, two Tampa natives will now face off in November in the race for Florida’s top cop. Florida could either get its first black Attorney General or its second female Attorney General.

“Can you believe I’m standing up here as the next nominee to be Attorney General with the Republican Party,” asked Ashley Moody to a Tampa crowd Tuesday night.

Moody, a former Hillsborough County judge and prosecutor, is now the Republican nominee for Florida Attorney General. She won 56 percent of the vote in the Primary against her GOP opponent, state Rep. Frank White (R-Pensacola).

During her victory speech in Tampa Tuesday, Moody said she’s looking forward to succeeding Florida’s current Attorney General Pam Bondi—should she win in November.

“Many of you have heard me say this before: I have very, very, high, high heels to fill,” she told the laughing crowd. “We have had a very great Attorney general in Pam Bondi over the last eight years. She has worked to strengthen our justice system, improve our laws to fight crime, help victims…I will work every day to deserve the great honor she has given me with her endorsement and I will tell you, I am confident, I’m sure she’s not done fighting for Floridians.”

Several of Moody’s priorities also align with Bondi’s.

“…whether it’s the opioid epidemic, trafficking, violence, increasing attacks on the men and women of law enforcement,” Moody continued.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Sean Shaw (D-Tampa) is vying for the Florida Attorney General position as the Democratic nominee.

For awhile, he was locked in a contentious legal battle with his Primary opponent, Ryan Torrens. Shaw had tried to knock Torrens off the ballot over an alleged campaign finance violation. A Leon Circuit judge agreed, but Torrens appealed and got back on the ballot.

The challenge is likely moot, after Shaw took more than 73 percent of the vote. Now, Shaw says he’s focused on facing off against Moody in November.

“In this election, we’re going to offer a clear choice, and I won’t back down,” she . We’ve got to do more to protect this state from gun violence, and we can’t let the gun lobby stand in our way. We’ve got to do more to protect our environment from polluters. We’ve got to do more to protect our seniors from scams and fraud. As Florida’s consumer insurance advocate and state Representative, I use the law to fight for Floridians. That’s exactly what I’ll do as Attorney General.”

As part of his platform, Shaw says he wants to create a gun violence task force. Shaw’s ads also double down on other ways to address gun violence—especially after the mass shootings in Florida.

“Meet Democrat Sean Shaw for Attorney General. Shaw took on the NRA, when others wouldn’t and ought for tougher gun safety laws, ban assault weapons, strengthen background checks...”

If elected, Shaw could become the state’s first black Attorney General. His late father, Leander Shaw, also made history, after becoming the Florida Supreme Court’s first black Supreme Court Justice in the 1980s.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.