Perry Thurston running for AG
By Dara Kam
ORLANDO _ House Minority Leader Perry Thurston announced he is running for attorney general, opening up a Democratic primary in the race to unseat incumbent GOP Pam Bondi.
Thurston, D-Lauderhill, told reporters about his decision at Florida Democrats’ annual conference at the Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando, moments before George Sheldon, who announced his candidacy earlier this week, walked by.
Thurston said he’s got a proven track record raising money and winning elections after the House Democrats number 45, the most since 1998. Democrat Amanda Murphy just picked up a GOP seat in a highly contested Pasco County contest this month.
Sheldon, 66, recently resigned from a high-ranking post at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, once served as secretary of the state Department of Children and Families, and also worked as a deputy attorney general under former AG Bob Butterworth.
Thurston, a criminal defense and public finance lawyer, sidestepped questions about whether Sheldon is too old-school to get the nomination.
“I wouldn’t want to say that but I think that we need to be moving forward. The idea is to move forward as we look at the way Florida is structured now and that’s what we’ll be focused on,” Thurston said.
Just a few moments later, Sheldon was told that Thurston threw his hat into the race and spurred a primary.
“Obviously, you prefer not having one. But the Democratic party has always been a party that’s willing to contest issues and have a discussion. I’m confident that when the primary’s over, this is going to be a united party,” Sheldon said.