Attorney General Pam Bondi endorsed the re-election of Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry Wednesday in what certainly is the first in a long line of endorsements for the incumbent.
Bondi rooted her endorsement in “public safety,” a meaningful and deliberate metric given that Curry’s political opponents are messaging about Curry’s inability to reverse recent increases in murders.
“Lenny Curry has been a leader in the fight against violent crime in Jacksonville and a steadfast ally of all who serve in law enforcement. His leadership in constantly prioritizing public safety for all families in Jacksonville, and his commitment to continue that over the coming years, is why I’m proud to support Lenny Curry for Mayor,” Bondi said.
“I am grateful to AG Bondi for her support and her leadership for our state. AG Bondi has been relentless in fighting crime and looking out for Florida’s families,” Curry said.
With just over a week before the qualifying deadline, Curry has a war chest of more than $3 million on hand, allowing him to message positively on the campaign side while slamming potential opponent Anna Brosche with committee money.
Curry, a former chair of the Republican Party of Florida, was heavily endorsed by state and national players in his 2015 campaign.
Bondi backed Curry, as did former Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Scott, former CFO Jeff Atwater, and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
The Bondi endorsement seems like a direct riposte to Brosche’s statement last month castigating the Curry “crime wave.”
“Rather than focusing on fighting crime, Mayor Curry has prioritized an agenda aimed at helping his friends. This crime wave has forced me to take another look at challenging the current administration and its failed policies,” Brosche said in December.
Worth noting: FBI statistics show Jacksonville with less violent crime per capita than Gainesville, Orlando, Miami, and Tallahassee.
Brosche spox Ryan Wiggins, meanwhile, painted the Bondi quote as a distraction from “Tammany Hall politics” practiced by the incumbent.
“With all due respect to General Bondi, Jacksonville saw more murders in 2018 than Brooklyn, NY. While I appreciate her public service to our state, her words do not negate the 106 lives lost this year in Jacksonville to murder,” Wiggins said.
“I can respect her loyalty to her longtime political ally Lenny Curry, but statistics don’t lie and the numbers speak for themselves. Jacksonville is not New York City and our citizens deserve better than Tammany Hall cronyism and backroom politics,” Wiggins added.
Bondi is, more than likely, the first in a wave of endorsements to drop as qualifying comes to a close Jan. 11.