George Sheldon’s new committee seeks Common Ground in solving Florida’s problems

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When announcing formation of a political fundraising committee for his Attorney General campaign, George Sheldon also outlined his attack on incumbent Pam Bondi.

“People have gotten very frustrated that government just doesn’t work,” Sheldon said at a Tallahassee news conference where former Attorney General Bob Butterworth and Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil were introduced as chairs of Sheldon’s Floridians Seeking Common Ground political action committee.

“But I think on both sides of the aisle there are very moderate people who want to bring us back together again,” said Sheldon.

And in an attempt to appeal to moderates, Sheldon is using the solid reputations of both Butterworth and McNeil, who is now the chief of police for the City of Quincy, west of Tallahassee. The two will vouch for where Sheldon gets his campaign money and how he will spend it.

“He’s going to be transparent about it,” said McNeil. “The idea is for citizens to understand how the money is being spent.”

Sheldon ended the primary with about $70,000 in the bank. Bondi and committees supporting her have about $3 million on hand.

Bondi is well-known in conservative circles due to her defense of Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage and her campaign against President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Sheldon intends to make her involvement in court cases outside of Florida an issue.

He suggests she lacks the proper focus to be the people’s Attorney General.

“She has intervened in every national philosophical debate, knowing full well that her intervention will have nothing to do with the outcome. Whether that is opposing the cleanup of Chesapeake Bay —  What about the Everglades? —  or getting involved in the Hobby Lobby case, trying to prevent contraception being accessible to working women, or the marriage equality cases, over 25 courts in this country, federal and state, have thrown out those bans,” said Sheldon.

“Those are the kinds of things I think she wants to highlight, and I’m willing to talk about them,” said Sheldon.

Sheldon’s Common Ground committee will reach out to environmental, women and marriage equality groups around the country for support.

“They are very concerned about Florida – Florida is the bellwether,” said Sheldon.

Trey Stapleton, Bondi’s campaign spokesman responded to Sheldon’s comments.

“While our opponent, an Obama D.C. insider, is focused on launching the same old, tired, political attacks, Attorney General Bondi will continue to talk directly to voters across the state about her record of shutting down pill mills, taking synthetic drugs off the shelves, fighting human trafficking, providing consumer relief for Floridians, cracking down on Medicaid fraud and how our citizens can continue to work together to make our state the safest place to live, work and raise a family,” said Stapleton

Bondi challenged Sheldon to a debate the night he won the Democratic nomination to face her in November. Sheldon responded with a call for five debates. It is unclear if and how many times the two will meet. The campaigns are working out details.