Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pam Bondi enters state attorney general race

TAMPA — Shaking up an already unpredictable statewide campaign for Florida attorney general, Hillsborough prosecutor Pam Bondi jumped in the race Tuesday, touting her legal experience and status as a Tallahassee outsider.

"I've spent my entire career prosecuting — not out politicking," said Bondi, 44, who is challenging Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and former Florida health care secretary Holly Benson for the Republican nomination. "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 a real practicing lawyer who can hit the ground running."

Kottkamp, though, said he's the candidate with the broadest legal experience — everything from appeals to trial work to clerking for federal judges.

"I'm not running for state attorney. I'm running for attorney general, and it's an entirely different skill set," Kottkamp, 48, said of Bondi's touting of her 18 years as a prosecutor.

Kottkamp is a staunch social conservative, which can help in a Republican primary. But he also was a personal injury lawyer and that makes him suspect to some in the business community. Both Benson and Bondi are touting their conservative, pro-business credentials.

"Today our nation and our state stand at a critical crossroads. Will we take the path of bigger, more intrusive government? Will we continue to allow frivolous lawsuits to clog our courts and impose a hidden tax on every business, service, and product," said a recent fundraising letter from Benson, who on Tuesday met with members of the Tampa Bay Partnership economic development group.

As Gov. Charlie Crist's former secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration and former Department of Business and Professional Regulation secretary, Benson, 38, also stresses her administrative experience. Like Kottkamp, she also served in the Legislature.

"Pam Bondi is principled and unwavering, and her commonsense but conservative perspective will be refreshing during this election cycle," said Tampa executive Kathleen Shanahan, Gov. Jeb Bush's former chief of staff.

A longtime high profile Hillsborough prosecutor, Bondi is little-known outside Tampa Bay and is untested as a candidate or a money raiser.

But she could be a formidable candidate, particularly in an election cycle when polls show voter disenchanted with incumbent politicians. It helps considerably that she comes from Tampa Bay, home to about one in four GOP primary voters.

Bondi is a frequent guest on national cable TV programs and her high profile murder cases included putting Adam Davis on trial for the 1998 slaying of Vicki Robinson in Tampa.

Bondi said that as attorney general, her top priority would be public safety — including fighting for adequate funding for law enforcement — but that the economy would be a prime focus too were she serving on the Florida Cabinet.

The attorney general's office is open because Bill McCollum is running for governor. Democrats running to succeed McCollum include state Sens. Dave Aronberg of Palm Beach County and Dan Gelber of Miami Beach.

Adam C. Smith can be reached at asmith@sptimes.com.

Pam Bondi enters state attorney general race 12/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]