St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • McBride supporters sweat over slow start
  • All for one -- after the primary, that is
  • New space station chief has special request
  • Lack of DCF beds strands man, 21, in jail

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    All for one -- after the primary, that is

    The three Democratic candidates for state attorney general say their biggest concern is winning the powerful Cabinet office for the party.

    By AMY WIMMER, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 9, 2002

    ST. PETERSBURG -- State Sen. Buddy Dyer, Deputy Attorney General George Sheldon and Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox want to be the next attorney general of Florida.

    But more important, they say, they want to make sure a Democrat fills the office.

    "Regardless of which one of us wins, the people of Florida will be the winners," Sheldon told about 60 people gathered Saturday morning at the Sanderlin Family Services Center for a meeting of the South St. Petersburg Democratic Club. "The next attorney general will be a Democrat," he said.

    The three attorney general candidates turned out for the club's political forum.

    The field of Democratic candidates is crowded in the attorney general's race, as Democrats statewide focus on keeping one of their own in the office Democrat Bob Butterworth has filled for 16 years. Term limits are forcing out Butterworth, the only Democrat in the Cabinet, leaving three Democrats and three Republicans competing for his seat.

    Democrats say they need to keep the attorney general's seat because of its far-reaching powers, both through the legal system and through its prominence.

    They also question whether the Republican candidates for attorney general -- Education Commissioner Charlie Crist, Solicitor General Tom Warner and Sen. Locke Burt of Ormond Beach -- would emphasize prosecution of white-collar crime and civil rights abuses.

    During Saturday morning's political forum, as each Democrat tried to explain how he would find more resources for the attorney general's civil rights division, Dyer suggested that Republicans would not see its importance.

    "Their question wouldn't be, 'How do we expand the civil rights division in the Attorney General's Office?' " Dyer said. "It would be, 'How do we shut it down?' "

    Dyer is a state senator who was born in the Orlando district he represents. Maddox, raised in Miami-Dade County, is now mayor of Tallahassee and was president of the Florida League of Cities last year. Sheldon is a former lawmaker from Tampa who is now deputy attorney general, overseeing the operations of Central Florida and the west coast of the state.

    And while the three can point out the differences between them and the Republicans, discerning what distinguishes them from one another is more difficult.

    The three said they questioned whether Florida's death penalty was being administered justly but would not support a moratorium on executions until the system was fixed.

    Each said he wants to pursue crimes that affect consumers. Each said the attorney general should play a premiere role in ensuring that Florida's election system was repaired.

    All candidates said they would support whoever wins the Democratic primary in the general election.

    "How many times have we seen where we had a good field of candidates in the Democratic Party, and we circled the wagons and shot inside instead of outside?" Maddox said.

    Maddox said he was different from the rest of the field because of his experience as a mayor, in which he visited all 405 municipalities in Florida. Sheldon said his current job within the Butterworth administration would mean a smooth transition.

    "I don't think you can wait six months for someone to get up to speed," he said.

    Dyer pointed out Saturday that he had received a high score the first and only time he took the Florida Bar exam, while Crist, a Republican candidate, had failed the exam twice.

    Though Dyer didn't mention Maddox and Sheldon, the joke was also a subtle jab at the two candidates, who also had to take the exam twice before passing all the sections.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk