Angela Corey prepares for a tough re-election campaign

Angela Corey

In a Friday afternoon conversation with FloridaPolitics.com, State Attorney Angela Corey wanted to focus on the positive.

Corey said she was “excited about the campaign” on multiple occasions during the conversation, reiterating her intention to bring the “same positive energy” to her race for re-election to a third term as she had to her time in office.

It was clear, however, that the bruising nature of her eight years in office, and of the campaign so far against her former supporter and employee Wes White, had taken some toll.

Also clear: the potential entry of another candidate, Melissa Nelson, would make the struggle even more grueling for the incumbent.

Corey mentioned her desire to get past the “headlines and anecdotes” that have made her time in office such a lightning rod for critics, and deal with the whole record.

A holistic view will be easier for some than others. Many won’t forget the high-profile cases, such as those of Marissa Alexander, of George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, and Michael Dunn and Jordan Davis.

Corey has been a lightning rod for criticism from the left, with protests from such as the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition as regular events.

Less remarked upon are the critiques that have been lobbed toward Corey from the right.

National Review, the flagship of the right, has hit Corey hard in a couple of articles. One, called “Angela Corey’s Checkered Past,” is the most scathing critique of Corey from a conservative perspective.

The piece claims Corey has an “M.O. of retaliation and overcharging,” that “personal vendettas … seem to be her specialty,” and that “Angela Corey seems to be less interested in making crime pay than in making her critics pay.”

Asked if she thought the media was too tough on her, Corey’s answer was interesting.

“For every high-profile trial,” Corey said, “there are 10 to 100 almost identical cases where we’ve done an excellent job.”

Corey believes voters are “savvy enough” to look beyond anecdotes, pointing out that in cases involving veterans, she has a mitigation rate of around 85 percent, and that she sits with defendants, their attorneys, and character witnesses to get a fuller sense of the defendant’s character. And that contrary to assertions that she overcharges children, her office does what it can to redirect youth from the criminal path, via diversion programs.

“What I think is unique,” said Corey, is that the office has “truly given breaks across the board,” noting that during the most recent Jacksonville Progressive Coalition protest, students showed up for diversion programs, invalidating the protesters’ claims by their presence.

“We bet the truth will prevail,” Corey said.

Corey has one guaranteed opponent, White, who is spending what little money he raises as quickly as it comes in, yet has forced Corey into a defensive posture on various issues.

White has gone negative on Corey, and while good polling on Corey or this race is not in the public sphere, his attacks have left a mark.

And, if you believe White, another candidate might be in the race this week.

That candidate, said White, will be backed by the Jacksonville Downtown Elite, moneyed types who don’t take no for an answer.

“The Jacksonville Downtown Elite,” said a White, “want nothing more than to gut me like a fish, to get me out of the race, to get in their candidate. They’re going to need a sharp knife.”

That candidate: Melissa Nelson, who was brought into the State Attorney’s Office under Corey’s predecessor, Harry Shorstein, and left for private practice soon after Corey took over.

Word on the street is that Nelson, if she were to get in to the race, would have the resources of a frontrunner, and would be able to run a “shock and awe” campaign against Corey and White.

A “shock and awe” campaign, one would surmise, would include a fusillade of negative information. Is Corey worried?

Hard to tell. She said she’d be “very disappointed if any new candidates started a negative campaign,” with push polls, negative mailers, and other ads.

“Anyone who enters the race is a member of The Florida Bar,” Corey added, saying that entity puts a premium on truth.

Corey also noted Nelson’s wasn’t the only name being floated as an opponent. But if the “Jacksonville Downtown Elite” narrative is accurate, Nelson would have access to the money she’d need to run as a “white knight” against two candidates who have beaten each other up for months.

Is Corey worried?

“Our donors are pretty impressive,” said Corey, who noted “we’ve got broad-based support, and all our supporters are elite.”

She has a fundraiser to be planned in May or June around a VIP’s schedule, and she doesn’t see money as a problem. She’s “waiting to see how many are in the race” before making the move to “gear up” on the fundraising front.

The question of who and how many are in the race is the one most will be watching this week. If Corey were faced with a challenge by Melissa Nelson, who almost certainly would be backed by Harry Shorstein, it would be an irony, as she noted.

“I got fired by Harry Shorstein because I exercised my constitutional right to run,” Corey said, and Shorstein and his allies “attempted to tarnish my reputation with memos … in my personnel file.”

Corey’s response? “I stayed positive,” the State Attorney said, and “delivered” in office, with stats in the top five in all relevant categories among SAOs “despite the constant negative barrage” from critics.

“I’ve been battling on tough cases my entire career,” Corey said, and “we believe we can overcome the attacks.”

The potential for attacks, it was clear, concerned the incumbent considerably. Corey said she would be “very disappointed” if Nelson allowed that kind of scorched-earth campaigning to be done on her behalf.

If a candidate can’t run on his or her merits, Corey added, that “tells something about [that] candidacy.”

Asked if she might have messaged differently during her first two terms in office, Corey noted that she wished she could have been more vocal on cases that had gone down, framing her office’s position in a way that would have blunted the ever-present barbs of critics.

“I had no idea that people who should have known better would be so vicious,” Corey said.

The real question, though, is not how vicious they’ve been up until now, but how vicious they will be going forward.

Corey will attempt to keep it positive. To focus on her office and its accomplishments. To encourage voters to take the long view.

Her opponents, however, will likely take a different tack.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Angel King

    May 2, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Intersting to say the least. But Im gonna take a long shot and say if Melissa Nelson steps in to this I will guess that other attorneys like Hank Coxe and Howard Coker etc will back her.

    Whats sad about that is on my daughters wrongful death suit, where the defendant that had stipling on his forehead and hand and a weapon in his pantleg and white substance under his nose in front of the police cruiser at the time of arrival at the crime scene by police. That photo is tell tale in addition to numerous other things like FDLE Agents former and current who claim my dsughter was deceased becore she was shot. Although her case was quickly dismissed as suicide juat 3 minutes aftwr the 911 call. This case Corey admitted she could not prosecute due to the major malfeasance by police and medical examiner Corey endorses Dr Valerie Rao Angela Corey refused to advise the media of the truth that cases are not being investigated but written off as suicides or accidental deaths. Corey then advised my attorney my daughter was murdered to take it to court civilly like the OJ Simpson case. Leaving Natasha Boykins grieving loved ones thrown to the sharks aka downtown elites, as bait having to fin for ourselves up against the deep pocket politics with the stinch of corruption, collusion and racketeering all for one guy where his family is in gealth care industry like Governor Scott with money and close personal relationship with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department where former officer Billy Carlyle worked for 30 years then went to work at the SAO for Angela Corey. Billy Carlyle likely also will support Melissa Nelson. Such a vicious circle constructed by a web of lies. Will anyone ever step up to the plate and do something about my daughters murder cover up? Who really knows.

    All I know is the Wesley White is a stand up man with honesty and integrity. God willing please just give Mr White a chance to show how honesty and integrity really does exist, instead of the downtown elite good ole boy network stealing an honest mans wage to rule continued corruption.

    I will be out providing flyers and a video of the papertrail and the real truth about my daughter covered up murder.

    I can name each and every socalled elite who support both Corey and the possible xandidate Melissa Nelsons supporters going back almost 20 years when I was a competitor in a game I never signed up for. All I know is back then there was a threat to mill my child and now she is dead and Corey has their support and refuses to tell the truth about my daughters violent murder. If you read this article Corey vaguely admits that

    • Angel King

      May 2, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      Been trying to edit and make corrections to this but I cannot. The comment after this one is the corrected version.

  • Angel King

    May 2, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Interesting to say the least. But Im gonna take a long shot and say if Melissa Nelson steps in to this I will guess that other attorneys like Hank Coxe and Howard Coker etc will back her.

    Whats sad about that is on my daughters wrongful death suit, where the defendant that had stippling on his forehead and hand, a weapon in his pantleg and white substance under his nose in front of the police cruiser at the time of arrival at the crime scene by police. That photo is tell tale in addition to numerous other things like FDLE Agents, former and current who claim my daughter was deceased before she was shot.

    Although her case was quickly dismissed as suicide just 3 minutes after the 911 call. This case Corey admitted she could not prosecute due to the major malfeasance by police and medical examiner Dr Valerie Rao. Corey also endorses Dr Valerie Rao to the Governor.

    Angela Corey refused to advise the media of the truth that cases are not being investigated but written off as suicides or accidental deaths.

    Corey then advised my attorney that my daughter Natasha Boykin was murdered, to take it to court civilly like the OJ Simpson case.

    State Attorney Anggela Corey left Natasha Boykins grieving loved ones thrown to the sharks a/k/a downtown elites, as bait having to fin for ourselves up against the deep pocket politics with the stinch of corruption, collusion and racketeering. In the long run it was all for one primary suspect where his family is in health care industry like Governor Scott, with money and close personal relationship with the Jacksonville Beach Police Department where former officer Billy Carlyle worked for 30 years then went to work at the SAO for Angela Corey.

    Billy Carlyle likely also will support Melissa Nelson.

    Such a vicious circle constructed by a web of lies. Honestly will anyone ever step up to the plate and do something about my daughters murder cover up? Who really knows.

    All I know is the Wesley White is a stand up man with honesty and integrity. God willing, please just give Mr White a chance to show how honesty and integrity really does exist, instead of the downtown elite, good ole boy network who steals an honest mans wage to rule all the continued corruption.

    I will be out providing flyers and a video of the papertrail and the real truth about my daughter Natasha Boykin’s covered up murder.

    Corey refuses to tell the truth about my daughters violent murder. If you read this article Corey vaguely admits my alledged FACTS!

    TRUTH & JUSTICE FOR
    NATASHA BOYKIN ♡

Comments are closed.


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