ORLANDO, Fla. – Incumbent Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody faces no Republican challengers for the Aug. 23 Florida primary, but three Democrats are vying to challenge her in the November general election.
Aramis Ayala, Jim Lewis and Daniel Uhlfelder are all running to be the Democratic nominee for Florida attorney general.
The winner of this election will face only Moody in the November election, which is open to all voters.
Lets take a closer look at the three candidates.
Ayala is an attorney in Orlando who gained prominence when she served a term as the state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties — the Ninth Judicial Circuit — from 2017 to 2020. Before that, she was an assistant state attorney and an assistant public defender.
Ayala ran on a platform of criminal justice reform, and she made a splash in that arena by refusing to seek the death penalty for Markeith Loyd, who has since been convicted for the murders of his ex-girlfriend, her unborn child, and an Orlando police lieutenant, Debra Clayton.
In retaliation, then-Gov. Rick Scott took the Loyd case away from Ayala, along with other death penalty cases. The Florida Supreme Court sided with Scott.
Instead, Ayala created a death penalty review board to decide whether a case merits the death penalty. She championed civil citations instead of punishment for non-violent first-time juvenile offenders, a coalition for domestic abuse and child abuse, and established a low-income bail fund. She also tackled the issue of wrongful convictions with a conviction integrity board.
She plans to continue those policies if elected as state attorney general.
Jim Lewis is an attorney in Ft. Lauderdale with ties to the Orlando area. He was an assistant state attorney in Orange County in the 1980s, and served as a special prosecutor at the state level.
Lewis is running under the slogan “Don’t Trump my Florida.” He criticizes Moody for supporting former President Trump and joining the Republican lawsuits to overturn the 2020 election results in several states. He is stricter on abortion laws and is supportive of local governments exercising home rule.
He also wants to decriminalize marijuana, something that he can’t do as an attorney general, and improve programs to deal with addiction and mental illness.
You may know him better as the Florida Grim Reaper. During the pandemic, Florida panhandle attorney Daniel Uhlfelder donned a grim reaper outfit and walked Florida’s opened beaches, driving home his belief that Florida’s COVID policies were dangerous.
Uhlfelder is a trial attorney handling cases ranging from crime to liability.
Uhlfelder criticizes Moody, saying she works as the governor’s personal attorney, bullying people the two don’t agree with. He says he would use the office to be a consumer advocate, going after Florida utilities like FPL for rate hikes, insurance companies and real estate developers. He also said he would refuse to prosecute women for getting an abortion.