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Challenger to take on Angela Corey in State Attorney race

While most of the ink and attention right now is on Jacksonville’s upcoming mayoral race, another contest is brewing that looks to be a barnburner.

Republican lawyer Wes White has officially filed to challenge 4th Judicial Circuit State Attorney Angela Corey in the 2016 Republican primary. White once ran the state attorney district office in Nassau County.

He resigned his assistant state attorney post in 2012 via email, saying Corey had not followed through on a commitment she made before her election in 2008 to not treat Nassau County as an “unwanted stepchild.”

Corey has presided over a series of high-profile and controversial cases, from the trials of George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn to the recent retrial of Jacksonville’s Marissa Alexander. Critics of her initial 20-year sentence say Alexander was wrongly charged for firing a weapon in the direction of her estranged husband.

The fallout from those cases has upped the State Attorney’s negatives. A new UNF poll finds 51% of likely voters disapprove of the job Corey is doing. (The poll also found that the circuit’s current public defender, Matt Shirk, is vulnerable too for other reasons.)

Meanwhile, White tells Florida Politics he’s running to restore public trust in the office. He sent an email to Corey in 2013 calling for her to step down after Zimmerman’s acquittal. The message read in part:

“You … have violated your oath of office and denigrated the very Constitution you swore to uphold and defend. You have assailed and undermined both the right to trial by jury and the finality and dignity associated with a jury verdict. For you to label George Zimmerman, an acquitted defendant, as a ‘murderer’ at this juncture is reprehensible and irresponsible, can only breed contempt for our system of justice and the rule of law, and may very well lead to civil unrest.  It is time for you … to step down before you further embarrass the Bar and the people of the 4th Circuit, and before you are removed from office.”

A spokesperson for Corey’s office released this statement: “Ms. Corey looks forward to running again for State Attorney and continuing to protect the citizens of the 4th Judicial Circuit.”

Written By

In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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