TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) – Republican Pam Bondi apparently defeated state Sen. Dan Gelber in Florida’s attorney general race Tuesday.
The St. Petersburg Times called the race in favor of Bondi, a former Tampa prosecutor, over Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat and former prosecutor, shortly before 10:30 p.m.
With 5,375 of 6,881 the state’s precincts reporting, or 78 percent, Bondi had 56 percent of the vote to Gelber’s 40 percent, according to the Times.
Bondi, who was a Democrat for 16 years before switching to the GOP a decade ago, will replace Attorney General Bill McCollum, who chose not to seek a second term to run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, but lost.
Bondi has campaigned on various national issues, including a promise to continue to challenge President Barack Obama’s health care reform package, which McCollum launched.
Bondi, in a statement in September, said she would be proud to pursue the lawsuit on behalf of the state’s small business owners.
“Floridians do not want and cannot afford this unconstitutional federal health care law, which I believe is the most expansive entitlement program ever created,” she said at the time.
Gelber has said the lawsuit is a frivolous political ploy he would not continue.
The business association that has teamed with 20 states to challenge federal health care reform endorsed Bondi. Read more about the lawsuit here.
Bondi, also a frequent commentator on Fox News, had one big-time Republican in her corner: conservative darling and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Palin called Bondi “a real prosecutor and a true conservative” who is “sharp, selfless and ready to stand for you” in a robo-call released in August.
The Tampa native is a graduate of the University of Florida and Stetson Law School.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.