Pam Bondi Challenges Primary Winner George Sheldon to Debate
Former Obama official George Sheldon defeated his primary opponent for the right to take on Pam Bondi for the state attorney general last night. And Bondi wasted no time in calling him up and challenging the man to a debate.
Sheldon's win was pretty overwhelming, taking more than 60 percent of the vote over Perry Thurston. And while both men entered Tuesday's primary as virtual unknowns, Sheldon is vowing to make sure people know he stands in stark contrast to Bondi.
See also: Broward Primary Election Results
Among the biggest differences between the two: Sheldon, 67, is for the legalization of medical marijuana and for same-sex marriage -- two of the biggest issues Bondi has publicly stood against.
During his victory speech Tuesday night, Sheldon threw down the gauntlet, saying, "Help me give Pam Bondi the job she really wants, as an anchor on Fox News."
Bondi replied with a statement of her own.
After she called Sheldon to congratulate him on his win, she sent out a news release.
"The voters will have a clear choice between candidates in this election, and they deserve to hear directly from us on the distinct difference in visions and leadership that each candidate will offer to the Attorney General's Office," the release says. "This can be accomplished through thoughtful and respectful dialogue worthy of our great State."
The statement also added some of Bondi's accomplishments: "I have been honored to serve as Florida's Attorney General over the last four years, and am proud of the incredible progress we have made in shutting down pill mills across the state, eradicating synthetic drugs, working to combat human trafficking and protecting our citizens from fraud," it says.
So who is George Sheldon?
He's an attorney and longtime Democrat who has served at various levels in government since 1969 who has served in the Florida House of Representatives,
In 2008, he was named secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families under then-Gov. Charlie Crist.
Most notably, between 2011 and 2013, Sheldon became the acting assistant secretary for the federal Administration for Children and Families in the United States Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration.
He also kind of looks like the eHarmony guy.
For the time being, it would seem Bondi is the heavy favorite.
Bondi is backed by the Florida Police Chiefs Association, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Florida Home Builders Association, among others,
And, with heavy hitters in her corner, she's has been able to raise more than $3.5 million for her reelection campaign.
Sheldon, meanwhile, raised and spent about $500,000 for his primary campaign.
Sheldon knows he's the underdog, saying in his speech Tuesday: "I'm under no illusions. This will be a tough campaign. They will throw everything they have at me."
For now, Sheldon has at least this going for him: Pam Bondi is widely unpopular among same-sex marriage advocates and those who want to see Amendment 2 pass.
Whether that will translate to an upset in November remains to be seen.
No date has yet been set for a debate.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.