Lauderdale's Jack Seiler sets sights on attorney general's office
Attorney General Pam Bondi can't run again because of term limits which is good for her, considering her recent run of controversies. But because this high-profile Cabinet office will be open in 2018, contested primaries are likely in both parties.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, a Democrat, is letting people know he intends to run for an office that has been in Republican hands since 2002, the year another Broward County politician, Bob Butterworth, left office.
"I'm leaning heavily toward running for attorney general," Seiler told the Times/Herald. "First and foremost, you've got to restore the public servant approach to elected office. I think the attorney general's office can be more active than it is currently, and more focused on making sure Floridians' rights are protected."
Referring to Bondi's acceptance of a $25,000 campaign donation from Donald Trump in 2013, he said no attorney general should accept campaign money from anyone who could be a target of an investigation by the agency.
Seiler, 53, is a lawyer and married father of four who was elected mayor in 2009 and re-elected in 2012 and 2015. He says the timing is right for him to run in 2018 because his youngest child will be off to college. He was a member of the Florida House from 2000 to 2008.
Under his tenure as mayor, he has cut taxes and attracted jobs. The city's skyline and world famous beach has continued to expand, at times reviving a perennial debate about overdevelopment in a city with many active homeowners associations.
Seiler's tenure has not been without controversy. Two years ago, he voted against a city same sex marriage resolution, saying marriage is not an issue regulated by the city, which he said "absolutely and unconditionally" treats all marriages equally. As a former mayor of Wilton Manors, a predominantly gay city, in the 1990s, he said he signed the county's first domestic partnership ordinance.
Seiler also drew fire from critics when a 90-year-old humanitarian was cited for feeding the homeless in violation of a city ordinance.
Both of the Legislature's designated new Republican leaders, Sen. Joe Negron and Rep. Richard Corcoran, are considered possible contenders for the A.G.'s job in 2018. Seiler said he would run as a political moderate and that an effective attorney general should not above politics.
"Partisan politics have overwhelmed our state and our country," he said.