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Florida attorney general election between Sean Shaw, Ashley Moody: What you need to know

Published Nov. 2, 2018

If you haven't been tuned into the race to see who will be Florida's next attorney general, here's a quick cheat sheet to get you caught up. (Election day is Nov. 6, but you can vote early or by mail! Click here to find out how.)

Read more: Tampa Bay Times 2018 Florida voter guide: Candidates for governor, Legislature and county office

The race for attorney general pits two Tampa lawyers against one another.

Tampa Democrat Sean Shaw, 40, is a first-term state House member, a consumer insurance lawyer, a former state insurance advocate, and son of the late Leander Shaw, the state's first black Supreme Court chief justice. He promises as attorney general to aggressively attack corporate and political corruption.

Read our profile of Shaw here.

Tampa Republican Ashley Moody, 43, is a former lawyer, federal prosecutor and judge from a long-time Plant City family, married to a federal drug enforcement agent, with two children. She's a supporter of President Donald Trump and current Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Read our profile of Moody here.

Where they stand on key issues

Florida's ongoing lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act: Earlier this year, Pam Bondi, the current Republican attorney general, announced that Florida would join in a lawsuit that would nullify the Affordable Care Act's protection of people with pre-existing medical conditions from discrimination by insurance companies.

Shaw says he would pull Florida out of that lawsuit, calling it a "partisan stunt."

Moody says she supports the lawsuit, arguing in a recently televised debate that "That lawsuit is about pushing back on Washington overreach."

Opioids: Both Moody and Shaw have pledged to aggressively fight the opioid crisis. Moody has said she would launch "a data-based attack" on the epidemic using all available resources.

Shaw has said he would consider pursuing a criminal case against drug manufacturers as part of his fight against the epidemic.

Restoring voting rights to convicted felons: Both candidates say they want to reform the current rights restoration system. But Moody does not support Amendment 4, the Constitutional Amendment before voters this November that would restore the right to vote to all felons, except those convicted of murder or sex crimes.

Shaw supports Amendment 4, which needs the approval of 60 percent of Florida voters this November to be added to the state Constitution.

Read more: The Constitutional amendments on Florida's ballot, explained

Guns: Shaw has said he would work with the Legislature to overturn Florida's controversial stand your ground law. He also favors banning semi-automatic firearms.

Moody favors stand your ground, and says she is an ardent Second Amendment advocate. She did not support the law passed by the Legislature in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which raised the firearm purchasing age from 18 to 21.

Investigating President Trump: Shaw has vowed to investigate whether the president has violated an article of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits a president from dealing financially with other countries' governments. He also says he would look into whether Trump laundered Russian money in Florida.

Moody's campaign has dismissed Shaw's call for an investigation into the president as "partisan political rhetoric."

The attorney general is sometimes called the state's second most powerful elected official, with the power to pursue criminal charges or civil action against individuals, companies or other public officials, join in litigation on national issues with attorneys general of other states, and vote in the state Cabinet.

Moody promises to continue the conservative policies of outgoing Attorney General Pam Bondi. She backs abortion restrictions and gun rights and would continue legal action begun by Bondi challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Shaw promises to investigate Trump's business practices in Florida and whether Trump has illegally received foreign emoluments. He favors marijuana legalization and would consider litigation to force increased public education funding and enforcement of a constitutional provision on purchasing conservation lands.

Check out our Voter Guide to read about other important races that will affect you.


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