Gelber smashes Aronberg - looks to face Pam Bondi in what could be an epic Attorney General race

Share on Nextdoor

At the beginning there was much mutual respect between South Florida state Senate Democrats Dan Gelber and Dave Aronberg and their supporters.

But that changed in late June when Aronberg decided to go for broke and make a campaign issue out of the fact that Gelber's law firm,  Akerman Senterfitt, opted to do claims work for one of the most unpopular organizations in the world at the time, oil giant BP.

Because of potential conflicts of interest if he were to become the Attorney General, Aronberg called for Gelber to quit the law firm, the place where Gelber had made a living for years.  Gelber did quit, but said that he had to contact his clients and would depart in a few weeks.  Aronberg kept it up, sending mailers and making ads blasting Gelber for his "association with BP."

The move backfired big time.

Gelber was endorsed by every major newspaper in the state (not insignificant in this case where many Democrats were undecided), and in the end, triumphed.  As of this writing, Gelber has a stunning, 60%-40% lead over Aronberg.

A short time ago, Gelber gave his victory speech:

“I’m running for this office because the Attorney General’s office – like so many in Tallahassee – has forgotten its purpose. It’s supposed to be the office that sets the standard for justice and social justice in our state. The office that makes sure our most vulnerable citizens are not preyed upon, that civil rights are respected, and that ordinary people are not overwhelmed by the powerful. It’s supposed to have the backs of everyday Floridians. Instead of having the back of Floridians, it has become a prop for politicians looking for a political boost. It has forgotten its mission of looking out for everyday Floridians

“People are mad and frustrated because they feel their government has left them out and behind; that government is looking out for everyone but them. In Florida, one party has been in control and it’s time that we bring new leadership with fresh ideas and a commitment to accountability. Tallahassee has become overwhelmed with special interests. It’s frustrating that lobbyists control government and as a result, more families are left behind by the failed policies coming from their government. It’s time we changed course because our future is in peril and this is the election we can make right the many wrongs.

"I am running for Attorney General because too many of our neighbors, our seniors, our children are left behind.  I am running because Floridians need a champion, someone who will stand up for them. I have one simple message tonight. Those who aim to prey on our vulnerable populations, those who aim to defraud our government and the trust of Floridians, there is a new sheriff in town. There will be no get out of jail cards when I am Attorney General, no wink and nods and no cozy relationships.  You do the crime – you do the time; you prey on Floridians, you will pay for it.

“As a federal prosecutor for nearly a decade, I took on violent gangs, drug dealers, corruption public officials and I will do so as Florida’s next Attorney General.”

The Republican AG race has not been called yet, but it's apparent that former Hillsborough County Assistant Prosecutor Pam Bondi will be the nominee and face Gelber, who last week she accused of being an "Eliot Spizter" like AG.

Bondi has a 38%-33% lead over Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp, with Holly Benson in third place with 29%.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.