Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Attorney General Bondi's bashing of Obamacare draws potential challenger

George Sheldon, a longtime Florida political hand and a current U.S. Health and Human Services official, has been talking to political insiders and prospective donors about challenging Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2014.

A top issue for Sheldon: Obamacare, which the Republican Bondi fought in court and still bashes in public speeches.

"What concerns me is the continual flailing against the Affordable Care Act," said Sheldon, a Democrat. "You had it passed by Congress, signed by the president, an election held over it and a Supreme Court decision. At a certain point, we have to move on … but it's still in her talking points."

Sheldon wasn't completely critical of the GOP or of Bondi. He credited the attorney general with fighting against human trafficking.

"She has been one of those attorney generals who has taken that issue to heart," Sheldon said. "And you have to give credit where credit is due."

Bondi would likely be a tough opponent. Republicans tend to outperform Democrats in nonpresidential election years.

Sheldon ran unsuccessfully twice before for statewide office, in 2002 for attorney general and in 2000 for education commissioner against Charlie Crist, who later appointed Sheldon to head the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Swing a possum, hit politician

If there were any lingering doubts about Gov. Rick Scott's determination to seek a second term as governor, they were quickly dispelled Saturday when he headed out to rural Wausau in Washington County for the 44th annual Possum Festival and Fun Day.

Rick Scott, playin' possum in a non-election year? You bet. The possum festival, one of Florida's most colorful political traditions, is a must-attend event every election year, as button-down, big-city politicians try to show they're right at home with rural, down-home Panhandle folk. Around Wausau, possum is served fried, fricasseed or sauteed, not to mention its popularity as a pet or even as a wardrobe accessory. Or hood ornament.

'Stand' pardon is sought

State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, is hoping the Florida Cabinet will help secure a pardon for Marissa Alexander.

Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing what she described as a warning shot at her husband. She tried to claim immunity under the state's "stand your ground" law but was found guilty.

Bullard sent letters about the case to Bondi, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater last week. Gov. Scott would need at least two members of the Cabinet to start the pardon process.

Dream Defender vs. Gaetz

In a flurry of Tweets on Sunday and Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz agreed to a televised debate with Dream Defenders director Phillip Agnew. The topic: Florida's "stand your ground" law.

Agnew said he challenged Gaetz to a verbal duel late Sunday after spotting news reports that Gaetz wouldn't support changing "one damn comma" in the self-defense law. Gaetz has been tapped by House Speaker Will Weatherford to hold a hearing on the law this fall.

Agnew's Tweet to Gaetz: @mattgaetz tv debate on #standyourground? I'm in the Capitol. The reply from the Fort Walton Beach Republican: Looking forward to it.

Kathleen McGrory contributed to this report.

Attorney General Bondi's bashing of Obamacare draws potential challenger 08/06/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 6:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two Kissimmee police officers shot to death


    KISSIMMEE — Two Kissimmee police officers were shot and killed Friday night, and one person was taken into custody, authorities said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of
  2. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  4. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.
  5. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, relies on the help of her mother, Tranda Webb, 62, as she recovers from the burns covering her body.