Former Hillsborough County prosecutor and judge Ashley Moody is Florida’s next Attorney General.
The 43-year-old Republican defeated Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw, 52%-46%, and will now succeed her friend Pam Bondi as the state’s top cop starting in January.
“I will remember every day in office that the voters have trusted me with a great power and, with it, comes great responsibility,” Moody said when the final votes were tallied. “I will always remember it is not about me. It is about you and ensuring at the end of the day, I defend the rights that guarantee that you are in charge.”
Moody had never run for electoral office when she quit her job as a Circuit Court Judge in Hillsborough County in early 2017 to declare her candidacy for the Republican nomination.
She was attacked early and often by her Republican primary opponents, but took an early lead aided by the backing of Bondi and the majority of sheriffs throughout the state.
Moody ran aggressively against Shaw by boasting about her legal background, saying that the state couldn’t afford to elect somebody who had never prosecuted a case – an argument she made in her GOP primary against Panhandle-area Rep. Frank White.
Shaw, the son of Leander Shaw, the state’s first black Supreme Court Justice, nationalized the race to an extant, saying that if elected he would investigate President Donald Trump’s Florida businesses for possible Russian money laundering and would join a lawsuit with other Democratic state attorneys general accusing Trump of violating the “foreign emoluments” clause of the Constitution.
One of the many distinctions between the two candidates was on guns. Moody, who was accused by her Republican opponents in the primary of being insufficiently pro Second-Amendment, said she would have opposed the school safety bill passed by the Florida Legislature this year because of the provision in it that increased the minimum age from 18 to 21 to buy rifles and other long guns.
Shaw said that if elected, he would form a task force on day one of his administration to study gun violence. He argued for the repeal of the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, while Moody supports it.
The two also clashed on the proposed Florida Constitutional Amendment 4 on the ballot, the measure that grants automatic restoration of voting rights for felons, except in some cases (which passed on Tuesday night). Shaw supported the proposal, while Moody said that while the current process to restore voting rights needs “streamlining,” she thought the measure went too far.