MIAMI - With voting in the Florida primary already underway, the race to determine which Democrat will run against Republican Ashley Moody for state Attorney General has received little attention.
Three candidates are in the race: Aramis Ayala, Jim Lewis, and Daniel Uhlfelder. CBS Miami recently interviewed the three candidates. Here are some of their comments:
"I am running for attorney general because our constitutional rights are being challenged. Our freedoms are being challenged. All while we have a governor who's saying we're free and we have an attorney general who's not making sure we're free."
"You're looking at the right to privacy. You're looking at even now, we're concerned about the right to marry and certainly our right to vote. So that and so many other constitutional rights are the issue."
Ayala was the state attorney in Orlando from 2017 to 2021, where she caused controversy when she refused to consider seeking the death penalty in murder cases.
"Every bit of research that I have reviewed and that is available for the public, proves that states that have [the death penalty] actually have higher homicide rates than the states that don't. It does not deter people from committing crimes."
"The things that I think the attorney general should be looking at and which I will start immediately, are investigations into corporate actions or consumer issues," she said, citing fraudulent insurance companies as her prime target.
Daniel Uhlfelder is a North Florida attorney perhaps best known for dressing like the Grim Reaper at the height of the pandemic and walking along Florida beaches during Spring Break.
"I took that drastic action, and I'm proud of doing it because it brought attention to a serious situation," he said. "This job as attorney general is a serious job, and it requires somebody who has the qualifications and experience to do it. And I'm that person."
Uhlfelder believes he is uniquely qualified to challenge Republican Ashley Moody.
"I'm a North Florida Democrat," he said. "We need someone from this area who can appeal to a cross-section of this state. I live in the reddest of the red of Florida, but I am able to communicate with people and represent people that I may not agree with because I understand Florida is a multi-party state."
"If you look at the issues that people agree with, they are going to agree with me on the issues, whether it's $15 minimum wage, whether it's marijuana legalization, whether it's the Affordable Care Act, whether it's having fair utility rates, whether it's having fair homeowner's insurance rates, whether it's basic reproductive rights. I'm going to put that message out and I have a huge following."
Jim Lewis is a perennial candidate who has run unsuccessfully in the past.
"I've got the time, I've got the experience," he said. "And just a lot of things bother me about how our state's been running. And I think I can make a difference and I want to get in there and see if I can't do some things."
He cites political corruption as his number one issue.
"This is well been known to be a pay-for-play state," Lewis said. "You know, I see all of these donations that people are making. Both Governor DeSantis and our attorney general, Ashley Moody, are contracting out legal services to some out-of-state law firms, millions of dollars, and then they get campaign contributions from those same law firms. I mean, to me, that's public corruption."
"The other thing that really bothers me is we're not doing anything to protect the environment," he added. "Climate change, it's like it doesn't even exist. You know, Florida people come here and live here because it's such a beautiful place and we're messing it up every day. And if we don't do something about climate change, these folks living on the coasts are going to have real problems."
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