Hillsborough County's top prosecutor offered a vigorous defense Thursday of Andrew Gillum's record on crime and law enforcement issues, countering what he called "shameful political attacks" from Ron DeSantis in the Florida governor's race.
State Attorney Andrew Warren, who was elected in 2016, has been a vocal supporter of Gillum, a fellow Democrat.
"The attacks on Mayor Gillum as hostile to law enforcement are absolutely false," Warren said in a statement delivered outside the Hillsborough County courthouse in Tampa.
"I know Mayor Gillum," Warren said. "I know he's a man who listens to victims of crime. I know he shares my respect for the brave men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to protect our children and families."
Warren was vague about which attacks from the Republican candidate he was referencing. But DeSantis has repeatedly drawn attention to Tallahassee's crime rate during Gillum's tenure as the city's mayor.
Warren said Gillum put more police on the streets and helped reduce crime in the city. He also highlighted several of DeSantis' actions and statements on criminal justice issues.
He said DeSantis voted against extending the Violence Against Women Act. He also noted his statements in support of a recently revised version of the Florida's stand your ground law, and opposition to a bill that would have put more police in schools after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
"Congressman DeSantis, you're a respectable man," Warren said. "But I call on you and your campaign to stop this nonsense and to tell Floridians your plan to keep our schools, our communities and our state safe."
Gillum has the support of Hillsborough's top prosecutor, but the DeSantis campaign has touted endorsements from the sheriffs in 42 of Florida's 67 counties. Among them are Bob Gualtieri in Pinellas, Chris Nocco in Pasco, Grady Judd in Polk.