Attorney General Ashley Moody appears to have every possible advantage over her Democratic challenger as Election Day approaches.
Moody, who bills herself as the state’s “top cop,” has been endorsed by Police Chiefs, most elected Sheriffs and State Attorneys in the state. She has held a consistent advantage in fundraising and polls over Aramis Ayala, a former State Attorney from Central Florida.
Ayala has a little less than $53,000 in her campaign account.
Moody has spent millions of dollars already, and the strategy appears to have paid off.
A survey released this week by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Laboratory shows Moody, a former prosecutor and judge from Plant City, with 50% support. Ayala drew just 36%.
Ayala won a three-way Democratic Primary in August, getting close to 45% of the vote against Daniel Uhlfelder and Jim Lewis.
Ayala, the state’s first Black State Attorney who served for one term in the Orlando area, raised just over $100,000 and couldn’t match Uhlfelder in fundraising (As he noted, she didn’t even take state matching funds). But she did win the endorsement battle in the end.
The Collective PAC backed her early on, but her best endorsements came late, as a group of Black legislators offered a strong collective endorsement of Ayala as voters began to tune in to the under-the-radar race.
Moody has benefited from earned media, highlighting everything from concerns about fentanyl-laced Halloween candies to cautions about COVID-19 mitigation measures. She has also gotten serious institutional support that neither Ayala nor the 2018 Democratic nominee, Sean Shaw, got.
The Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) spent more than a million dollars on Moody’s General Election campaign four years ago.
This time around, the group spent $300,000 on the re-election bid. RAGA bet big on Moody in 2018, donating just over $1 million between her win of a competitive Primary that year and her General Election victory, which saw her succeed term-limited Pam Bondi.
Law enforcement backing that was central for Moody this cycle also came through in 2018, when more than 40 county Sheriffs, the Florida Police Benevolent Association and more than half of Florida’s State Attorneys endorsed Moody. Even Democratic Sheriffs endorsed her in the end.
Moody won in 2018 with 52% of the vote against Shaw, who was a much stronger fundraiser than Ayala. This time around, Moody appears poised to at least equal that vote share.