Ryan Torrens calls for truce in Democratic race for Attorney General - Florida Politics

Ryan Torrens calls for truce in Democratic race for Attorney General

I’ll drop mine if you drop yours, Ryan Torrens told Sean Shaw on Sunday night.

Lawsuit, that is.

Torrens, a Democratic candidate for Florida Attorney General, sprang a Sunday night surprise on Shaw, his primary opponent and a Tampa state representative.

“Let’s both agree to drop our lawsuits – right now – and instead of meeting in a courtroom on Wednesday to tear each other down, let’s meet for a joint press conference, declaring loud and clear that no matter who prevails in this primary, we will stand united to make sure we elect a Democratic attorney general in November,” Torrens – a consumer-rights attorney in Tampa – said in a press release.

Here’s the backstory: Shaw sued first last month to have Torrens kicked off the ballot, alleging he only qualified to run because of an “illegal campaign contribution” to pay the qualifying fee. Torrens later said it was a self-loan — his wife had written the check from their joint account.

In his answer to Shaw’s complaint, filed in Leon County Circuit Civil court, Torrens counterclaimed that Shaw had libeled him, having “falsely and frivolously challenged my integrity as a professional and as someone aspiring to public office, and that of my wife.”

Sunday’s press release is a surprising turnabout for Torrens, coming after a Friday hearing hastily scheduled by Circuit Judge Karen Gievers.

That was to address Torrens’ “emergency motion for protective order” on the bank records of his wife, Francesca Yabraian, whom he said “holds a high-security clearance with the federal government.”

Torrens did not disclose her job, but said: “Her banking information is highly sensitive, and she could lose her employment if she does not comply with the security requirements of her employer.” A web search shows that, as of 2016, she worked at the Department of Homeland Security.

The result of the Friday hearing before Gievers was not docketed as of Sunday night. A bench trial in the case remains set for Wednesday.

And just last Thursday, Torrens demanded that Shaw produce a copy of a check that was a $2,500 contribution to his campaign from Democratic candidate for governor Jeff Greene.

He also asked for “all bank records from … Shaw’s campaign finance account,” and a bevy of “emails and text messages” regarding “the release of (Shaw’s) lawsuit to the press.”

Later Sunday night, a Shaw spokesman ignored Torrens’ white flag after being asked to comment.

“Democrats are unified and excited to lead this state in a new direction,” Michael Starr Hopkins said. “Sean Shaw is a fighter and regardless of who Republicans nominate, we are confident our message will continue to resonate with voters.”

Torrens’ full statement is below.

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

1 Comment

  1. I do agree that our nominees should not tear each other down – as a voter, I do not feel confident that they will serve in my best interest if they are constantly fighting. Please unite in your power.

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