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.”