LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Democratic candidate George Sheldon criticized Attorney General Pam Bondi on Sunday for delaying an execution so she could raise money for her re-election.
In his first speech since entering the race last Monday, Sheldon referred to Bondi’s request to delay the lethal injection of Marshall Lee Gore as the “inconvenient execution.”
“When she delayed an execution because it conflicted with a fundraising cocktail party she was hosting, she should have resigned,” said Sheldon, a former Department of Children and Families secretary who served as deputy attorney general under Bob Butterworth. “And when pressed as to why she delayed an execution to attend a cocktail party, her response was ‘I made a mistake, it won’t happen again. Next question.’ She’s right. It won’t happen again.”
Gore, who murdered two women in Miami, was allowed to live another three weeks when Gov. Rick Scott granted Bondi’s request. Bondi later said she made a mistake.
The speech came as Democrats showcased their statewide candidates during a weekend-long conference. House Democratic Leader Thurston Perry announced Saturday that he would also seek the attorney general nomination. But he hasn’t filed paperwork to get in the race, so he wasn’t among Sunday’s speakers.
Also addressing the crowd was Broward County businessman William Rankin, who announced last week that he will run for chief financial officer. Rankin is not well known among Democrats. He is an Army veteran, former Republican and the publisher of Millionaire Lifestyle Magazine.
He called current CFO Jeff Water a tea party extremist.
“I just became sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Rankin said.
Sheldon also criticized Bondi for suing the federal government in an attempt to have the Affordable Care Act ruled unconstitutional.
“She went so far as to use your taxpayer dollars to file suit to deny people coverage,” Sheldon said. “What part of the affordable care act doesn’t she understand? The affordable part, or the care part?”
Bondi’s campaign manager Pablo Diaz defended the attorney general.
“It is ironic that he chooses to attack the attorney general on an execution-related issue, when she is a strong supporter of the death penalty, something which he is on the record opposing,” Diaz said. “These are the comments expected from a career politician, and while expected, they are disappointing. “