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    Two Democrats could vie for attorney general bid

    The race heats up as the Tallahassee mayor says he might seek the Democratic nomination.

    By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published December 13, 2001

    Republicans may not be the only ones with a primary battle in the race to become Florida's next attorney general.

    Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox said Wednesday he is "very much" considering jumping into the race and challenging Orlando state Sen. Buddy Dyer for the Democratic nomination.

    "As Democrats, we desperately need to hold onto the attorney general position. . . . I've got an awful lot of respect for Buddy Dyer, but I just think we need to field our best candidate," said Maddox, who expects to announce a decision after the new year.

    Attorney General Bob Butterworth, currently the only Democrat on Florida's six-member Cabinet, will step down next year because of term limits. So far, three Republicans have announced their candidacies, while Dyer is the only announced Democrat.

    Maddox, 33, is little known statewide, but is often touted as one of the party's rising stars with a reputation for firing up crowds. He had considered running for governor, and his name often comes up as a strong contender for lieutenant governor.

    His entry would change the equation for Democrats who hoped Dyer would skate into the general election while the Republicans fought it out for the GOP nomination.

    Dyer shrugged off the possibility of a primary challenger.

    "We would probably rather not had to expend funds in a Democratic primary, but on the other hand winning a Democratic primary would give us some momentum," said Dyer, noting that he has been positioning himself for months.

    Maddox, the son of a Miami-Dade police officer, was elected to Tallahassee's City Commission in 1993 while still in law school at Florida State University. He said he has made countless contacts across the state as president of the Florida League of Cities.

    He said he has been encouraged to run for a variety of positions, but "I'm particularly interested in attorney general because I think that is of crucial importance to consumers in the state."

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