Former Judge Ashley Moody is hoping Florida Republicans trust her experience and supporters as they look for a candidate to replace term-limited Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
With barely a month to go until the primary, one of the most closely watched statewide contests in Florida is between Moody and state Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola, with both sides ramping up the attacks in recent days.
Meeting with Sunshine State News this week, Moody stressed her credentials, insisting she was the only candidate in the race with the right qualifications for the job, noting her experience as a prosecutor and her work for consumers.
Asked about what issues the next attorney general will face, Moody pointed to the opioid epidemic. She noted that the opioid problem impacted many aspects of the Sunshine State,including undermining the state’s economy. Noting that younger Floridians, including many people in the service industry, were impacted by opioids, Moody said the continued problem was hurting tourism and was something she would focus on if elected. But she also starkly noted the human cost.
“We continue to lose 15 people each day in Florida due the opioid epidemic,” Moody told Sunshine State News.
Asked about issues that were under the radar to most voters, Moody said elder abuse was a growing problem in Florida, especially as many of the abusers are family members of the victim.
Noting that crime was down in the Sunshine State, Moody said that Florida had to remain vigilant, especially when it came to violent crime. She also called for more attention to cybercrime, saying that the attorney general’s office had to keep up with changing technology.
Moody praised Bondi, who has endorsed her campaign, especially on her work against pill bills. She also noted that she had the support of 43 of the 49 Republican sheriffs in the Sunshine State as well as various law enforcement groups including the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the Florida Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Florida Police Chiefs Association which endorsed her earlier this week.
“As a former federal prosecutor and Circuit Court judge, Ashley Moody has shown dedication in bringing criminals to justice and upholding the law. She has the knowledge and experience our state needs to address complex public safety issues and has built strong relationships with police chiefs across Florida. The Florida Police Chiefs Association is proud to endorse Ashley Moody as our next attorney general,” said Amy Mercer, executive director of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.
For her part, Moody said she was going to back law enforcement if she is elected.
“Law enforcement professionals need and deserve an attorney general who has fought alongside them to put criminals behind bars and the experience to successfully help them accomplish their mission of keeping our communities safe,” Moody said. “As attorney general, I will work to ensure that those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us have the resources and support to do their jobs and protect their ranks.”
Police groups and Bondi backed her, Moody told Sunshine State News, because of her positions on the issues and her experience which includes commercial litigation, working with the victims of domestic violence and work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office where she prosecuted drug dealers and violent offenders before being elected to the bench in 2006. Talking with Sunshine State News, Moody reiterated her view that, if elected, she would enforce the laws, not make them. That, she insisted, was the job of the Legislature.
Moody reeled in Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s support on Thursday and used the opportunity to showcase Bondi’s endorsement.
“I don’t think there could be a more qualified candidate for attorney general in the entire state of Florida,” Bondi said. “I whole-heartedly support Ashley and I’m proud of her for wanting to sacrifice so much for our state.”
Moody and White meet in the primary at the end of next month.