Aramis Ayala, the outgoing State Attorney for Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, says she’s supporting defense attorney Joe Kimok as the next State Attorney for Broward County.
Ayala’s circuit covers portions of Central Florida. She’s been a lightning rod since elected in 2016. Most famously, she tried to bar the death penalty within her jurisdiction, but failed. She did seek several progressive reforms during her tenure with regard to bail bonds, the juvenile justice program and elsewhere.
Ayala is stepping away from that role, leading to a five-person contest to determine her successor. Still, Ayala is attempting to make her voice heard in the jam-packed contest for Broward County State Attorney.
Kimok is one of eight Democrats competing for the nomination in the 2020 race. He’s competing against Assistant State Attorneys David Cannady, Justin McCormack, Sarahnell Murphy and Harold Pryor, former prosecutor Jim Lewis, Coconut Creek Commissioner and former Mayor Josh Rydell and former Broward State Attorney candidate Teresa Williams.
“State Attorney Aramis Ayala is an extraordinary leader who has led the Ninth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office with conviction and courage,” Kimok said in a Wednesday statement.
“Those of us in Florida trying to bring real change to the way our communities prosecute are standing on her shoulders. I’m so honored to have her endorsement.”
Assistant State Attorney Gregg Rossman has also qualified in the contest as a Republican. Former Sunrise Commissioner Sheila Alu is running as a non-party-affiliated candidate.
That’s 10 candidates in total, all seeking to replace State Attorney Michael Satz, who has held that office for more than four decades. He declined to seek reelection as State Attorney for Florida’s 17th Judicial Circuit — which covers Broward County.
Kimok has sought to position himself as a progressive option in the race. Last week, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont endorsed Kimok. Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee founded by former Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont, also backed Kimok in March.