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Republican Florida Attorney General candidate profiles

Jeff Kottkamp with Charlie Crist.

Jeff Kottkamp with Charlie Crist.

Attorney general

Voters this fall will elect a new attorney general for the third time in eight years. Republican Bill McCollum, like his predecessor Charlie Crist, is departing after one term to run for governor. The GOP field features two candidates with ties to Crist, the Republican-turned-independent, and it's the only statewide race this year that features two women. Steve Bousquet, Times Staff Writer

About the job: The attorney general is Florida's chief legal officer and manages the largest law firm in the state, about 475 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 post is informally known, is also a voting member of the Florida Cabinet. Salary: $128,972.

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Know Your Candidates 2010 Primary. More candidate profiles.

Holly Benson, 39 R Pam Bondi, 44 R Jeff Kottkamp, 49 R
Experience Benson was born in Camp LeJeune, N.C., and is a former municipal bond lawyer and former state House member from Pensacola (2000-07). She was recruited by Gov. Charlie Crist to run two state agencies: the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Agency for Health Care Administration, which had an $18 billion budget on her watch and administers the Medicaid program. Although she has never personally tried a case, as a legislator she was a Jeb Bush protege known for substantive work on challenging and complex issues of Medicaid reform and a reorganization of the state court system. Bondi is a Tampa native and a career prosecutor who's seeking to make a major leap: She has never before run for elective office and was the last candidate to enter this race, in December 2009. Her campaign emphasizes her 18 years as an assistant state attorney in Hillsborough County, working to combat violent crime, and supervising more than 340 people, including 130 lawyers, in the agency's felony division. Bondi, who has been a legal expert for Fox News, also emphasizes that she is not a "career politician." She was a registered Democrat from 1984 until 2000, when she became Republican. Kottkamp hails from Martinsville, Ind., and has been a practicing civil lawyer for more than 15 years. He entered politics in 2000 and served for six years in the Florida House, representing Cape Coral and nearby communities and serving as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the budget committee for the court system. Gov. Charlie Crist picked Kottkamp as his running mate in 2006 to appeal to conservatives, and the lieutenant governor has overseen the Office of Drug Control, Space Florida board and an advisory panel that focuses on children. He is the only candidate in this race whose name has previously been on a ballot statewide.
Education Bachelor's degree, Dartmouth College; Juris Doctor, University of Florida Bachelor's degree, University of Florida; Juris Doctor Stetson University Bachelor's degree, Florida State University; Juris Doctor, University of Florida
Why are you the most qualified candidate for attorney general? As a former agency chief, "my experience makes me the best-qualified candidate to continue these battles" against President Barack Obama's health plan and holding BP accountable. Her record fighting crime: "Every kind of case imaginable that you can think of in the last 20 years, I've handled." Citing his legal experience, "I have prepared my whole life to be attorney general … I have a broad range of experience in both civil and criminal law."

Do you favor changes that permit felons to regain civil rights faster? No. "When you commit a criminal act, you forfeit certain rights," including the right to vote. No. The recent change was "reckless and allows too much room for error and the serious possibility of endangering Florida citizens." No. "While a felon's prison sentence may come to an end, often the impact on the victim of their crime continues — sometimes forever."
Would you continue the lawsuit against Obama's health plan? Yes. "This is going to wreck our health care system and jeopardize our Constitution." Yes. "This health reform bill infringes on the rights of our state's sovereignty." Yes. "It's time states stand up to the federal government and say 'no more' to clear violations of the Constitution."
Who supports your candidacy? Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville; Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart; former state GOP chairman Carole Jean Jordan Former Gov. Bob Martinez; former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker; Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee Former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack; 21 county sheriffs; Florida Police Benevolent Association
Assets $128,400, two homes $635,400, home $932,650, two homes
Liabilities $38,220, mortgage $287,660, mortgage $194,244, mortgage
Income $127,716, salary $133,685, salary $126,448, salary
Personal Single In a committed relationship Married with one son

Republican Florida Attorney General candidate profiles 08/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 5, 2010 2:48pm]
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