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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pam Bondi enters attorney general race



Bondi Republican prosecutor Pam Bondi of Tampa jumped into the Republican race for attorney general today, saying she has the legal experience needed to be Florida's top attorney. She could be a serious challenger to Republican rivals Jeff Kottkamp and Holly Benson.


"Today, it’s clear to me that our state and our families are facing unprecedented challenges, and what we need are courageous leaders who are not afraid to tell the truth, make a real difference, and stand up for you," said Bondi, who will step down from the state attorney's office immediately to focus on the campaign.

The 44-year-old assistant state attorney in Hillsborough County is untested as a candidate and political fundraiser, but she has a relatively high profile in Tampa Bay - home to at least one in four primary voters - has spent loads of time in courtrooms prosecuting bad guys, is skilled at handling media, has a strong campaign team (including Brett Doster and Adam Goodman). And fortunately for her in this election cycle, she is not a Tallahassee insider.

"I've spent my entire career prosecuting - not out politicking," she told Buzz. "I love my state. I'm a fourth generation Floridian and ... with all that's going wrong in our great state I realized someone must come forward who's not a politician to take a stand - someone with real life experience. I believe the attorney general should be real practicing lawyer who can hit the ground running in that office. I can back that up with my legal credentials and my conservative commitment to the people of this state."

As attorney general Bondi said her top priority would be public safety - including fighting for adequate law enforcement funding - but she would also focus on the economy as a member of the Florida Cabinet.

“I am pro-business, pro-jobs, and pro-family,” said Bondi. “I will help businesses grow jobs instead of punishing them with regulations, and I will prosecute those who threaten and defraud our small businesses, investors, and seniors. We also must hold government accountable by demanding full transparency.”

Kathleen Shanahan, former Chief of Staff for Gov. Jeb Bush, called Bondi principled and unwavering: “Her candidacy is a part of a national movement away from big government policies in favor of the foundations of our freedom: a free marketplace and personal responsibility.”

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 1:07pm]


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