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Ryan Williams picks up another State Attorney’s support in JC 9 run

Ryan Williams is running against Deb Barra in the State Attorney contest

Assistant State Attorney Ryan Williams has picked up another State Attorney’s endorsement for his bid to be elected State Attorney for Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, this time receiving the backing of Phil Archer, State Attorney of the 18th Judicial Circuit for Brevard and Seminole Counties.

Williams, a former JC 9 Assistant State Attorney who now prosecutes criminal cases in the neighboring Florida’s 5th Judicial Circuit, is seeking to return to JC 9 as the top prosecutor for Orange an Osceola counties. Williams already has the backing of his current boss, JC 5 State Attorney Brad King.

His primary opponent, JC 9 Chief Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra has the endorsement of the incumbent JC 9 State Attorney, Aramis Ayala. But Ayala’s controversial one-term tenure is one of the chief campaign issues in the battle.

Both are Democrats. There also is a Republican running, Orlando lawyer Kevin Morenski. But his candidacy, largely dormant, is a long shot in the heavily-Democratic judicial circuit.

The race promises to be one of the most hotly-contested in any judicial circuit in Florida in 2020. Williams has raised nearly $100,00 in his campaign finances so far, and Barra has more than $110,000 raised, though that includes a $50,000 loan she made to her campaign.

“It is with great pleasure that I hereby endorse and support the election of Ryan Williams for the position of State Attorney for the 9th Judicial Circuit,” Archer, who like King, is a Republican, stated in a news release issued by Williams’ campaign. “I am confident that he has the right experience, character and integrity to serve in such an important position and is committed to ensuring justice for the citizens of Orange and Osceola Counties.”

Williams, who lives in Winter Garden, has been a prosecutor for 12 years. Until early 2017 that was in JC 9, when he transferred to JC 5. He left in protest over Ayala’s policy begun in 2017 to not seek death penalties in any capital cases, a policy that was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court in August. In the interim, then-Gov. Rick Scott transferred about 30 capital cases from Ayala’s jurisdiction to King’s.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of State Attorney Archer,” Williams stated in the news release. “I know him to be a fearless advocate on behalf of the people. I thank Mr. Archer for his endorsement and faith in my campaign and I look forward to working with Seminole County to ensure a safe Central Florida.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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