Three Republicans former Hillsborough County Assistant Prosecutor Pam Bondi, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottcamp, and former legislator and state agency head Holly Benson are competing for their partys nomination to succeed Bill McCollum as Attorney General this November.
The race should be competitive, even though some analysts immediately pegged Bondi as the favorite. That bit of punditry was based in part on her being the only candidate representing the I-4 corridor, as well as the national presence that she has cultivated by her appearances on Fox News commentating on legal issues.
Bondi has parlayed that national following into having a few major fundraisers held for her in Washington, but she hasnt exactly dominated the money war (she had $400,000 in the bank, compared to $316,000 for Kottcamp and $274,000 for Benson at the end of July) nor ran away with endorsements.
In her television ad, Bondi emphasizes her prosecutor background, as an announcer blasts Kottcamp as a personal injury lawyer/politician and a Benson as a bureaucrat whos never tried a legal case.
All three candidates are in lockstep in supporting Bill McCollums lawsuit that he has filed against the federal governments health care reform bill. They also have spoken in support of the states ban on gay adoption, in which Florida stands alone in the country in its discrimination against same sex couples, though Bondi has not been declarative on that, saying at a Tiger Bay event in St. Petersburg in June that she would support whatever law is on the books now or in the future.
Bondi also hasnt been as prepared as some believe she should be. Last month the Tampa Tribune seemed to be giving a hometown discount in endorsing her with faint praise, saying that she was hazy on some key state issues, including growth management, while adding that she needs to move beyond party talking points and show she will think for herself. All that came after the paper endorsed her.