In late March the two Democratic candidates for attorney general joined us. Now it’s the Republicans’ turn, and all four announced candidates will converge on the Tigers’ Den for a debate/joint appearance. They are (in alphabetical order):
Holly Benson, a three-term legislator from Pensacola and twice an agency head in the Crist administration.
Pam Bondi, an assistant state attorney and criminal prosecutor in Tampa. Her high-profile cases have made her a frequent guest on cable television, and she is known locally for adopting a St. Bernard lost in Hurricane Katrina, then fighting in court its eventual return to its previous owners.
Jeff Kottkamp, completing his term as Charlie Crist’s lieutenant governor, was previously a three-term legislator from Cape Coral.
Jim Lewis of Fort Lauderdale has seven years experience as a prosecutor and, unusually, advocates lighter sentences for offenders, especially those convicted on drug charges.
All four are graduates of Florida law schools. Kottkamp and Benson have experience as elected officials but have never been prosecutors. Bondi and Lewis have not held public office.
Watch for a spirited debate on which of the candidates has the right stuff to be Florida’s top law enforcement official and what their concept of the job is. Tigers may also want to ask how the candidates would handle the significant responsibilities of the three-person Cabinet, including buying land for environmental protection and managing the state’s investments.