Once a Democrat, always a Democrat?
That’s how Republican candidate for Florida attorney general Frank White attacked Ashley Moody in an ad last month.
White, a member of the Florida House since 2016, lost Tuesday’s primary election to Moody, who was a Florida circuit court judge for 10 years before she resigned to run for attorney general.
The attack line was notable enough to draw PolitiFact Florida’s attention. As Moody prepares to face Democratic attorney and former insurance advocate Sean Shaw in November, we wanted to examine her record of party support.
"Ashley Moody sued Donald Trump for fraud," said the ad from White, referencing when Moody was a plaintiff in a lawsuit concerning Trump’s involvement in the development of the unfinished Trump Tower Tampa.
"Now she wants to be our Republican attorney general. How could we ever trust her?"
Then the ad went even further: "Ashley Moody was a lifelong Democrat."
That would be an interesting development for a Republican, if it were true. But it is not.
Moody was a registered Democrat for five years, but has been a registered Republican for the last 20.
Under law, Florida voter registrations are public records and can be released to any person upon request.
We acquired Moody’s records from the supervisor of elections in Hillsborough County, where Moody lives, as well as elections supervisors in other counties where she had previously lived
We found that Moody first registered to vote in 1993, when she was 18. At that time, she registered as a Democrat in Hillsborough County.
Moody later moved to Alachua County to attend the University of Florida. On Jan. 6, 1998, she updated her voter registration and switched her party affiliation to Republican.
Moody then moved back to Hillsborough County and registered again to vote there in 2002. She then switched her registration so that she was registered in Duval County on June 30, 2004, said Katrell McKenzie of the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office.
In June 2006, Moody switched to being registered in Hillsborough County once more.
She has been registered as a Republican in Hillsborough since 2006.
So Moody was a registered Democrat for five years, but for the last 20 years, she’s been a registered Republican.
Asked how this qualifies Moody as a "lifelong Democrat," a spokeswoman for Frank’s campaign gave an interesting response.
Erin Isaac pointed out that "the ad does not say she IS a lifelong Dem."
"Ashley Moody WAS a lifelong Democrat. Moody first registered as a Democrat and maintained that registration continually before reregistering, by continuing to act like a liberal. So she was a lifelong Democrat before she switched and continued liberal actions," Isaac explained.
But most viewers of the ad weren’t paying attention to the small detail of whether White decided to call Moody a "lifelong Democrat" in the past or present tense.
The Moody campaign website points out that Moody is not the only Republican politician to have started out by registering as a Democrat. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (who has endorsed Moody in the race) were all previously registered Democrats.
We rate this claim False.