While it did not get much attention, last week state Attorney General Ashley Moody formally kicked off her bid for a second term.
It’s easy to lose sight of Moody as the likes of Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., garner the headlines. But she has been a consistent conservative since winning office 2018, working with other Republican attorneys general on several high-profile cases.
Back in 2015, conservative pundit Fred Barnes, one of the co-founders of The Weekly Standard magazine and a regular contributor on Fox News, played up the roles that Republican state attorneys general can play, even dubbing them the most effective opposition to President Barack Obama. If Republican attorneys general take up a similar role in opposing the Biden administration–and certainly the U.S. Supreme Court should be more favorable now–Moody could play a key role.
In 2018, a good year for Democrats, Moody held her own. A former U.S. attorney who was elected to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida in Hillsborough County, Moody was something of an unknown before she started her campaign. Chasing some candidates out of the race, Moody defeated Panhandle state Rep. Frank White in the primary, beating him 57 percent to 43 percent. Moody went on to defeat state Rep. Sean Shaw, the Democratic nominee, 52 percent to 46 percent. Not exactly a landslide but Moody won by a larger margin than other Republicans on the ticket including DeSantis, Scott and state CFO Jimmy Patronis.
So far, there aren’t any Democrats in the race though Panhandle lawyer Daniel Uhlfelder, best known for dressing up like the grim reaper to oppose DeSantis’ handling of COVID, and U.S. Attorney Andrew Warren, from Moody’s old stomping grounds in the Tampa Bay area, have garnered some buzz. Still, with the Agriculture commissionership open as Nikki Fried runs for governor, more Democrats are looking at that race instead of challenging Moody.
All of this being the case, Moody starts the 2022 cycle as the favorite even as higher profile gubernatorial and Senate contests garner are more attention.
Kevin Derby wrote this analysis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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