With five weeks to go, a Republican primary for statewide office in Florida is growing hotter with attacks launched from both sides.
Last week, a Florida political group called United Conservatives launched a political attack against against former Judge Ashley Moody who is running for the Republican nomination to replace term limited state Attorney General Pam Bondi.
United Conservatives is backed by supporters of state Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola, who is also running in next month’s Republican primary. The group launched a website which takes aim at Moody, painting her as a liberal.
“Ashley Moody is easy on pedophiles and child pornographers. And as a lawyer and judge, Ashley has fought for lighter sentences for dangerous predators,” the website insists.
The website also tries to link Moody to a host of prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, former U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and former Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and claims she has helped Democrats and liberals raise thousands of dollars. The sites also noted that Moody had once been a registered Democrat. Of course, the site disregards Moody’s claims of being a conservative, insisting she opposed former Gov. Jeb Bush’s education reforms and donated to pro-choice candidates. United Conservatives also insist Moody defended international drug traffickers.
“In addition to being a liberal judge, Ashley Moody also wants to hide that she was a liberal trial lawyer who defended criminals, including drug traffickers, for money,” United Conservatives claims on the site.
Over the weekend, the Moody campaign countered back, releasing a letter in which they note that more than half of Florida’s Republican state attorneys are behind her and against White. “State attorneys agree that Frank White unfit to serve as attorney general,” the Moody team trumpeted.
The letter is signed by several well-known state attorneys who insist the attacks on Moody have been “baseless and vicious.” They hit back, questioning White’s record.
“Frank White has never prosecuted a case in a courtroom, never tried any case to verdict, and has absolutely no understanding of what it means to lead a successful investigation or prosecution. His most recent attack against Ashley Moody only underscores his lack of understanding or qualifications to be the top prosecutor in Florida. It reflects a dangerous inclination to blur the truth in a system that depends on the honor of the leaders that guard it and, more astonishingly, ignorance to criminal practice and criminal law,” they wrote.
“Florida faces significant, real challenges, including the opioid epidemic and human trafficking,” the state attorneys backing Moody added. “The safety of our families depends on having a ‘Top Cop’ who knows what their law enforcement partners need, knows what it takes to get convictions in a courtroom, and understands how to achieve results for the security of our state. You can’t be tough on crime if you don’t know how to prosecute crime.”
State Attorneys Brad King, Bernie McCabe, RJ Larizza, William Cervone, Brian Haas, Glen Hess, Dennis Ward, Phil Archer and Bruce Colton signed the letter.
Contact Ed at Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com.