Attorney General | Democrat
The race for the Democratic nomination for attorney general pits two political veterans against each other. George Sheldon and Perry Thurston agree that Republican incumbent Pam Bondi has strayed from the mission of the office: to protect civil rights and consumer interests. Both have similar views. Sheldon argues that he's the candidate with administrative experience who can work both sides of the aisle. "Knowing how that office operates, I think I would have respect from the employees in that office. I could hit the ground running," Sheldon says. Thurston dismisses Sheldon's experience in the AG's office as more than a decade old and says he's the better candidate now. "It's time to move Florida forward."
|George Sheldon, 67 |
|Perry Thurston, 53 |
House Democratic leader
|Experience||To run for AG, Sheldon stepped down in October from his $179,000 job as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families. He served as a Tampa state representative from 1974 to 1982 . Sheldon worked in private practice until 1999, when he was tapped by then-AG Bob Butterworth to be a deputy. From 2007 to 2010, he worked at the Florida Department of Children and Families.||For the past two years, Thurston has served as the Democratic leader in the Florida House. It was under his tenure that the number of Democrats in the 120-seat chamber climbed from 39 to the current 45. He was first elected to his Fort Lauderdale district in 2006. Thurston worked as an assistant public defender in Broward County between 1988 and 1992 before moving into private practice, where he has specialized in criminal defense and public finance.|
|Education||Florida State University, B.A., 1969; FSU College of Law, 1978||Morehouse College, B.A. in finance, 1982; University of Miami Law School, 1987|
|Gay Marriage||Supports gay marriage. "Society has moved dramatically, and you have a responsibility to reflect that."||Supports gay marriage. "We should have equal rights. It's wrong and unconstitutional to deny people their rights."|
|'Stand Your Ground'||"At a minimum, we have to change 'stand your ground.' I would have to work with the Legislature. … I think you can get there."||"I would use the office as a bully pulpit to talk about amending or repealing it."|
|Restoration of felon rights||Favors automatic restoration of civil rights for felons, except in cases of public corruption, crimes against a child and first-degree murder. "If you paid your debt to society, getting your rights back is critical."||"There's a number of rights that should automatically be restored. If someone has done their time and has paid their debt to society, they should get their rights back." Like Sheldon, he believes there are exceptions.|
|Medical marijuana||Supports the proposed amendment legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes but says he doesn't support the complete legalization of marijuana. "Let's see how it plays out in Colorado."||"It should be legal. I've sat through enough hearings of children suffering from seizures, and I'm not going to stand in the way of them getting it if they need it." He doesn't support complete legalization of marijuana, though. "I'm not ready to go that far."|
|Assets||$125,000 in household goods; $380,000 home; $100,000 half-interest in second home; $32,696 in thrift savings plan.||$45,000 in household goods; $60,000 home; $350,000 home; $6,500 in savings|
|Liabilities||$451,581 in mortgages||$132,000 in mortgages; $2,750 personal loan|
|Income||$62,145 pensions, $14,758 in Social Security benefits, $4,800 rent||$29,337 Florida House salary, $8,688 from Broward County Housing Authority|
|Personal||Sheldon was legislative aide for future governor Reubin Askew, who was then a state senator. Sheldon was 27 when elected to the Florida House.||Married with two adult children|
About the job: The attorney general is Florida's chief legal officer and manages the largest law firm in the state, about 430 lawyers. They deal with everything from consumer protection to Medicaid fraud. The agency also represents the state in legal matters, including appeals of inmate death sentences. The AG, as the official is informally known, is a voting member of the Florida Cabinet. Pam Bondi, a Republican, won the office in 2010. She awaits the winner of the Democratic primary. Salary: $128,972.