Pam bondi Archives - Page 5 of 50 - Florida Politics

Election eve poll gives Lawrence McClure wide lead in HD 58 special election

A barrage of nasty direct mail campaigns in the HD 58 special election may have snookered Yvonne Fry’s chances in the Tuesday Republican Primary, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls.

An automated phone poll conducted over the weekend surveyed 358 registered HD 58 voters and found the Plant City native trailed Republican businessman Lawrence McClure 54-36 percent, with another 10 percent saying they were unsure which candidate they would choose at the ballot box.

McClure polled 20 points better than Fry among whites, and did similarly well among both men and women. He also dominated among voters over 30 – voters aged 50 to 69 picked McClure over Fry by 32 points, with only 7 percent saying they were unsure.

Fry’s only wins came among the 18-29 crowd, 50-33, and among Hispanics, who preferred her 2-to-1 over McClure.

About 44 percent of those polled also said they had already voted in the special primary,

The prime timers have turned out for the election, too, with more than 55 percent of the 70-and-up crowd having already cast their ballot.

There’s still a day left before the door shuts on the primary, but even Fry’s wins don’t paint a pretty picture in a district where 64 percent of the electorate are non-Hispanic whites, and the median age is hovering around the late-30s.

Fry was the first-in candidate for the special election, which Gov. Rick Scott scheduled after former Rep. Dan Raulerson announced he would leave office due to health issues.

She amassed plenty of support from all levels of GOP leadership, too. In addition to Raulerson coming out in support of her once he became a “private citizen,” she won over all five current Plant City Commissioners as well as neighboring Rep. Ross Spano, Attorney General Pam Bondi and a host of others.

McClure picked up his support, and cash, from allies of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who found himself at odds with Raulerson more often than not.

With those deep pockets backing him, he has led in fundraising through most of the campaign. And his major foible – having never cast a ballot in a primary election until last year– was outshined by the rash of mailers branding Fry as a liberal in cahoots with “Obama, Clinton and Pelosi” when it came to 2nd Amendment rights.

The winner of the McClure-Fry battle is the odds-on favorite for the seat, but still must face Democrat Jose Vazquez, Libertarian Bryan Zemina and non-party-affiliated Ahmad Saadaldin in a Dec. 19 general election.

Aaron Bean backs Jay Fant in Florida AG race

Jay Fant picked up a much-needed high-profile endorsement in his race for attorney general from fellow Jacksonville Republican Aaron Bean.

“Senator Bean has been a longtime voice for conservative politics in Northeast Florida,” Fant said. “His endorsement is one to be very proud of. We look forward to working with Senator Bean on our conservative platform for years to come.”

Fant has represented Florida’s House District 15 in the Jacksonville area since 2014. In May, immediately after the end of the 2017 regular Legislative Session, he became the first major candidate to file to run in the attorney general’s race.

Since then, Fant has been upstaged by former Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, who has been endorsed by current AG Pam Bondi. Moody announced earlier Monday that she has raised over a million dollars in her quest for the GOP nomination.

Through the end of August, Fant raised $179,300 in his campaign account, but an advisor says that he has loaned his campaign $750,000 bringing his total campaign donations to $958,000, which will be officially released on Tuesday.

In addition, Fant has more than $50,000 cash-on-hand currently in his political committee, Pledge This Day, though there have been contributions to that account since June.

Ashley Moody has now raised more than $1 million for Attorney General bid

Attorney General hopeful Ashley Moody announced Monday that she has raised more than $1 million in her campaign since announcing her candidacy in June.

That total includes $850,000 into her campaign coffers and an additional $200,000 into Friends of Ashley Moody, her political action committee.

“We’re proud and excited to hit this important fundraising milestone, particularly in the first four months of our campaign. It is a testament to our statewide network of grassroots supporters, community leaders, and well-respected law enforcement professionals who’ve enthusiastically embraced our message of strong, conservative leadership,” the Republican said.

“Our campaign’s success also reflects the voters’ desire for an Attorney General who has real experience prosecuting crimes and upholding the rule of law. We’ll continue to visit communities throughout Florida and share our story and vision for a safer and more secure state.”

The 42-year-old Moody was first elected to serve as a judge in Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit when she was 31 years old, making her the youngest judge in Florida. She resigned her seat at the end of April and announced her run for A.G. in June.

Her candidacy was quickly endorsed by Pam Bondi, the woman she hopes to succeed in the AG’s office, and a host of other Republican police sheriffs and county commissioners have flocked to back her run since then.

The other Republican in the race is state Rep. Jay Fant, who has not yet reported his take for September, but had only raised $179,300 at the end of August.

The lone Democrat in the race is Tampa attorney Ryan C. Torrens. He has also not posted September fundraising numbers, but had raised a total $34,318 at the end of August.

Ashley Moody picks up endorsement from Walton County sheriff

Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody added another Panhandle Republican to her stable of endorsements Friday, just one day after announcing Reps. Clay Ingram and Jay Trumbull are backing her campaign.

Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson joins the list which includes U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz,  current A.G. Pam Bondi, as well as the sheriffs of Brevard, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

“Each and every day the brave men and women in law enforcement serve and protect those in our state and do so by putting the safety of citizens before their own. I’m backing Ashley Moody for Attorney General because we need a leader in Tallahassee who understands the sacrifices our law enforcement community makes and who will support us in our mission,” Adkinson said.

Moody was thankful for the nod from the “consummate lawman,” who currently serves as president of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

“As a former chief of police, and now sheriff of Walton County, Sheriff Adkinson is a proven and effective leader with a track record of aggressively combating crime. I’m honored to have earned his endorsement and pledge to be a strong advocate for those who protect and serve the citizens of Florida,” Moody said.

Moody is one of three candidates who are running to replace Bondi as the state’s top cop. Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant is running against Moody in the Republican Primary, while Ryan Torrens currently has no competition for the Democratic nomination.

Moody has led the trio in fundraising since shortly after she announced her run in June, and droves of Republicans have lined up to support her campaign. Through August, she had racked up $756,000 in contributions for her campaign account and had about $733,000 on hand.

The fifth-generation Floridian and three-time University of Florida alumna also has a political committee, “Friends of Ashley Moody,” which had pulled in $137,500 through the same date.

Fant got off to a strong start with $150,000 raised in his first two months, but his numbers flatlined after Moody, seen as Bondi’s handpicked successor, entered the race. His committee, “Pledge This Day,” has also struggled and reported goose eggs three months in a row.

Undeterred by the stiff competition, he doubled down with a $750,000 loan to his campaign Friday. In the announcement he took a light jab at Moody, a former circuit court judge, by saying he was “the only conservative and the only candidate who has signed the front of a paycheck.”

“We have over a year until the election and we are just getting started,” he said.

The move may put him at the level with Moody for now, but none of the candidates have posted their full numbers for last month. September campaign finance reports for all Florida candidates are due to the Florida Division of Elections next week.

Jay Fant lends campaign $750K toward AG bid

State Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican vying to become Florida’s next attorney general, Friday said he had personally put in $750,000 toward his election.

The loan to his campaign, made last month, brings his total campaign funds raised to just over $958,000, his campaign told Florida Politics.

Without it, Fant’s campaign account shows just over $179,000 in contributions, according to campaign finance records as of Friday morning. That doesn’t include other September fundraising.

“I am investing my own funds because Floridians deserve an alternative to the establishment candidates in the field,” Fant said in a statement.

“As the only conservative and the only candidate who has signed the front of a paycheck, I will protect individual liberties and free enterprise,” he added. “We have over a year until the election and we are just getting started.

“Our donor and grassroots support are strong and we are looking forward to the next 13 months on the campaign trail.”

Fant, whose legislative record “includes advocacy of 1st and 2nd Amendment issues and limited government,” also said he has “pledged to commit additional personal campaign funds from time to time.”

For now, Fant faces only former Hillsborough County circuit judge Ashley Moody in the GOP primary for the seat. The winner will face Ryan Torrens, the lone declared Democrat, in the general election.

Moody, who’s gotten a series of high-profile endorsements, has raised nearly $756,000, not including September numbers—with none of that from loans, records show. She has roughly $733,500 in cash-on-hand.

Fant, however, bucked House Speaker Richard Corcoran and backed Republican Gov. Rick Scott—a deep-pocketed, likely candidate against Democrat Bill Nelson next year for the U.S. Senate—in Scott’s effort to save Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA from virtual gutting last session.

Incumbent Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi is term-limited next year.

Ashley Moody adds Clay Ingram, Jay Trumbull endorsements

Republican Ashley Moody added a pair of endorsements for her Attorney General campaign Thursday from Panhandle Reps. Clay Ingram and Jay Trumbull.

Moody is a former prosecutor and circuit court judge who stepped down from the bench earlier this year to run for the state’s attorney general post, which is opening up due to Pam Bondi hitting term limits in 2018.

“Northwest Florida has a long history of accomplished leaders in the Florida Legislature and that legacy continues on in the conservative leadership of Representative Ingram and Representative Trumbull,” Moody said. “They’ve led on tough issues and been true advocates for their districts. To have their support means so much to our campaign, and to me personally.”

The endorsements from Ingram and Trumbull add to a long list of GOP backers Moody has amassed since entering the race at the beginning of June, including U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, all five Republicans on the Hillsborough County Commission and the Sheriffs of Brevard, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Still, the biggest endorsement to date came from Bondi herself.

The second-term attorney general threw her weight behind Moody, a longtime friend, before the ink had a chance to dry on the filing paperwork.

“I’ve known her most of her life,” Bondi told the Tampa Bay Times in June. “I don’t think there could be a more qualified candidate for attorney general in the entire state of Florida. I whole-heartedly support Ashley and I’m proud of her for wanting to sacrifice so much for our state.”

Those early shows of support came despite – or perhaps because of – Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant’s candidacy.

He and Moody are currently the only two Republicans running to take over for Bondi, and though Fant got off to a strong start with $150,000 raised in his first two months, his numbers flatlined after Moody entered the picture.

He filed a month ahead of Moody and through August had raised almost $180,000 with about $155,000 in the bank. Moody, through the same date, had racked up $756,000 for her campaign and had about $733,000 on hand.

A chunk of that money was even snagged from a fundraiser in Fant’s home turf.

The fifth-generation Floridian and three-time University of Florida alumna also has a political committee, “Friends of Ashley Moody,” which showed $137,500 raised in 10 weeks on its August report.

Pam Bondi goes to Nevada

Drawing on lessons learned after a nightclub massacre last year in Orlando, Attorney General Pam Bondi and members of her office will be in Las Vegas the next few days to help victims of the nation’s latest mass killing.

Bondi, along with Emery Gainey, director of the Division of Victim Services and Criminal Justice Programs, and five advocates are traveling at the request of Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt.

The Florida officials hope to use what they learned following the 2016 Pulse nightclub killings in Orlando to help in the aftermath of a mass shooting Sunday night that left at least 59 people dead in Las Vegas.

“Sadly, (in) Florida we know what we’re doing after the Pulse nightclub,” Bondi said Tuesday before an afternoon flight to Las Vegas.

Bondi said the situation in Las Vegas is similar to the Pulse shooting in that many victims of the Orlando massacre or their family members weren’t from Florida.

Many of the 59 people killed and more than 500 injured in Las Vegas had traveled from other states to a three-day, outdoor country music festival. They were shot by a gunman who fired from a room in the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel and casino.

“We need to help them work through the legal process, connecting with their families and by getting them services,” Bondi said. “Sadly, so many of the victims who died don’t live in Nevada, so help with burial and helping them get back to their respective states.”

Advice will range from transporting bodies across state line to expenses for family members and victims, grief counseling and simply contacting family members, Bondi said.

“There is no amount of counselors in Nevada that could possibly assist, due to the magnitude of this tragedy,” Bondi said.

The National Association of Attorneys General has asked all its members to send advocates. Bondi said Florida might send more than the five advocates who will be on the ground Wednesday in Las Vegas.

“This is many, many more victims, many hundreds in the hospitals throughout Nevada,” Bondi said. “So we also have offered, at their request … training all the other advocates.”

The Pulse attack left 50 people, including the shooter, dead and another 58 injured. The targets at Pulse were mostly young, gay and Hispanic.

The gunman, who said he was inspired by the terrorist group ISIS, was shot dead by police. The Pulse massacre had, until Sunday, been considered the nation’s deadliest mass shooting.

Republished with permission of The News Service of Florida.

Pam Bondi urges collaboration at human trafficking summit

State Attorney General Pam Bondi stressed the importance of global collaboration to end sexual slavery during opening remarks at Florida’s Human Trafficking Summit Monday in Orlando.

“If we don’t tackle this worldwide, we’ll never solve the problem,” Bondi said. “This is a transnational crime and a worldwide problem.”

Bondi spoke to an audience of more than 500 attendees that included law enforcement, service providers, human trafficking survivors, health care professionals, educators, legislators and community leaders during the Summit at the Rosen Centre Hotel.

The summit began with Bondi asking for a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting massacre in Las Vegas.

“We’ve already reached out, my office, our victims’ advocates … to Nevada already, to offer our services, our advocates,” she said. “I know many of you have large organizations, if you want to reach out with your assistance, I know that would be greatly appreciated in Nevada right now, because we sadly know how to deal with rapid response after Pulse nightclub.”

Bondi urged corporations, businesses, hospitals and schools to train their employees and students about how to recognize human trafficking. She pointed to an Uber driver that noticed in his rearview mirror that an older man and young girl did not look right. His call to law enforcement ended a human trafficking ring, she said. Now, Uber is training its 40,000 drivers on the signs of sexual coercion and abuse.

Hollywood has glamorized prostitution and kidnapping in movies like “Taken,” Bondi said.

“Unfortunately, the father doesn’t come in and save the child at the end of the day,” she said. “Your child can be sitting at the dinner table every night and be a victim of human trafficking.”

The state attorney said community leaders are committed to making Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking. She said the practice is directly related to opioid addiction and that’s how traffickers get children and teens hooked into slavery. Florida is working with officials in Mexico and Africa to help come up with solutions to both drug and human trafficking, she added.

Opportunities for collaboration during breakout sessions at the daylong summit will allow Florida to continue working to protect victims, prevent trafficking and prosecute traffickers.

Academy award-winning actress Anne Archer also spoke Monday. The “Fatal Attraction” star founded Artists for Human Rights in 2006 to encourage filmmakers to create content on human rights abuses.

There’s an estimated 21 to 46 million slaves worldwide and the slave trade generates $19 billion — more than Nike, Google and Starbucks earnings combined,” Archer said. “Gangs and organized crime run human trafficking rings because selling people is easier and safer than running guns and drugs and the penalties are less severe. It’s a low-risk, high-reward market. If we stop the buyers, the whole predatory industry collapses.”

Archer said the typical portrayal of sex by Hollywood has implied the sex industry is empowering for young women.

“The reality is far darker than the images you see on screen,” Archer said. “Teenagers and children are being bought and sold online like a used bike or iPhone.”

Along with the attorney general’s office, the Summit is also sponsored by the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Florida Department of Children and Families and the University of Central Florida.

Bondi presented the following awards at the summit:

Misty Laperriere, Survivor Advocate of the Year—Laperriere is the Director of Outreach and Law Enforcement Liaison for Selah Freedom and a survivor of human trafficking. In 2016, Laperriere assisted the Sarasota Police Department in rescuing two women from a local hotel. In addition to her work with victims, Laperriere provides training to several law enforcement agencies in Florida including the Sarasota and Bradenton Police Departments and travels throughout the state helping victims of human trafficking. Additionally, Laperriere implemented Florida’s first prostitution diversion court program called Turn Your Life Around.

-Heidi Schaeffer, Community Advocate of the Year—As executive board member and coalition communications specialist for the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition, Schaeffer has spoken to several news organizations about human trafficking and how citizens can help. She trained teachers and students at Palm Beach County schools on human trafficking indicators. She also worked closely with deans, professors, and students to help incorporate human trafficking instruction into medical school curriculum and developed a clinical training video and multiple live presentations for Baptist and South Miami Hospitals.

-Lisa Haba, Prosecutor of the Year—Haba is an assistant state attorney in 18th Judicial Circuit Court. Haba works in the office’s sex crimes and child abuse division, prosecuting cases involving human trafficking and crimes against children. Last year, Haba successfully prosecuted the first human trafficking case in Seminole County. Haba also sits on the board of directors of The Lifeboat Project, a human trafficking nonprofit. Haba is a member of the Seminole County Human Trafficking Task Force and teaches the community, law enforcement officers and deputies about human trafficking.

Corporal Alan Wilkett, Law Enforcement Official of the Year—Corporal Wilkett led the Pasco County Human Trafficking Task Force on several sweeps and trained more than 2,000 community members through the Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking. Corporal Wilkett actively works with local government offices, local healthcare provider Baycare, the local community and non-profit organizations like Bridging Freedom, where he serves as a board member. 

Additionally, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice awarded Christopher Massey Human Trafficking Advocate of The Year. Massey chairs the Education and Awareness sub-committee for the Freedom 7 Human Trafficking Task Force. Since January 2016, as Chair, Massey trained and educated almost 5,000 individuals about human trafficking.


Joe Henderson: 3 words for O.J. Simpson: don’t screw up

If convicted creep O.J. Simpson eventually moves to Florida and becomes our most infamous parolee, I have three words: don’t screw up.

For now, he is sending mixed signals about his intentions.

He told parole officials that he is planning to stay in Nevada for the foreseeable future, but USA Today reported that he eventually will wind up in Naples. No surprise. We know Florida will always be in play because, well, it’s Florida and that type of stuff happens here.

If the Juice decides to come here, he could become acquainted with Attorney General Pam Bondi. She knows how to get her name in the news, and the lady does have a refined sense of theatrics.

It was predictable – or should have been, anyway – that she took a pre-emptive strike to block Simpson from moving to our fair state following his release from a Nevada prison after serving nine years of a maximum 33-year hitch for armed robbery.

She sent a letter to the Florida Department of Corrections, requesting the agency “immediately notify all appropriate authorities of the State of Nevada that the State of Florida objects” that Simpson isn’t wanted here.

Bondi’s gambit was well-played in one respect – she got her headline. Her name went out on the national news, again, and that can’t hurt someone whose time as the state’s top lawyer is nearing its end and could be eyeing a new gig.

There also is little chance her ploy will work, and she knows that. Florida is part of a nationwide system that essentially requires it to accept Simpson if he ever decides to move here, provided he meets certain conditions.

He does.

Before his arrest and subsequent conviction in Nevada in 2007, he had established residency in Florida. He has family in Florida. He has friends here who have offered to help in his transition back to freedom.

Under the rules we live by, Bondi would need more than the “yeah, but he’s a scumbag” to successfully block Simpson’s path back here.

However, if Bondi’s goal was a warning to let the Juice know that being here isn’t the same as being welcome here, I’m actually OK with that.

If Simpson does slither back to Florida, he should consider living the hermit’s life. As a parolee, the slightest hiccup could send back to Nevada to complete his sentence. Bondi’s threat is that he better not even get a parking ticket here.

Think about it.

We have a state attorney general who lives for the spotlight. No light would be brighter than the one shining on someone catches O.J. doing something that sends him back to prison.

How much do you think Bondi would love to be that person?

That is the real message she sent with the letter.

The Juice better be listening. He’d be happier somewhere else.

Parole official: O.J. Simpson will live in Vegas area

A Nevada parole official said O.J. Simpson plans to live at a home in the Las Vegas area for the foreseeable future.

State Parole and Probation Capt. Shawn Arruti told The Associated Press on Sunday that the former football hero and celebrity criminal defendant has one approved residential plan, and it doesn’t currently include a move to Florida or any other state.

But Arruti said that could change in the future.

Simpson previously said he wanted to live in Florida, where he used to live and where he has friends and two children.

Arruti said the exact location of the house in Las Vegas isn’t disclosed for security and privacy reasons.

But he said that at least for now, the 70-year-old Simpson has no permission to leave Nevada without advance approval from his parole officer.

On Friday, Attorney General Pam Bondi had formally objected to Simpson’s return to Florida, referring to an interstate agreement that allows states to deny relocation permission to parolees from other states.

Bondi quoted Simpson as saying, “I could easily stay in Nevada but I don’t think you guys want me here.”

“In light of Mr. Simpson’s history in California, Nevada and Florida … the same goes for the people of Florida,” Bondi wrote.

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