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Florida Republicans are turning Attorney General contest into race to the right

Tampa Bay Times
February 6th, 2018
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In the four-way Republican primary for attorney general, the GOP is again being pulled toward the right and ideological purity.

The four candidates are roughly equally matched in statewide name recognition — none of them has much — and as they battle to emerge from the pack, the shootout is turning tough early.

If there is a frontrunner, it might be former circuit Judge Ashley Moody of Plant City, who faces three Republican state House members: Jay Fant of Jacksonville, Ross Spano of Dover and Frank White of Pensacola.

But that impression by some party insiders comes from evidence that’s not conclusive: Moody’s early fundraising lead; her endorsements from 33 Republican sheriffs, 10 state attorneys and outgoing Attorney General Pam Bondi; and being the only woman in a four-way race.

The only published polling, a robopoll by last month, showed a wide-open race with 69 percent undecided, Moody at 10 percent, Fant 9 percent, Spano 6 percent and White 4 percent.

What is clear is that Moody is a target for Fant and White, who are blasting her in an internet, direct mail and news release campaign as a “liberal judge,” closet Democrat and anti-Trump.

Spano, who didn’t file until after the attacks on Moody had begun, and who shares friends and allies with her in their east Hillsborough County home base, has avoided joining in.

Moody is fighting back by emphasizing her own experience in law enforcement, as a judge and prosecutor, which the other three, though all lawyers, don’t have.

It the primary a race to the right?

“I hope so,” said Fant in an interview after a forum for the candidates last weekend.

None of the four is what most people would call a liberal.

All have proclaimed themselves backers of gun rights, opponents of abortion, and in favor of the “sanctuary cities” bill House Speaker Richard Corcoran is seeking to push through the Legislative.

In an Orlando forum Saturday before a large crowd of conservative lawyers and judges in the Federalist Society:

— White, who repeatedly proclaims himself “a consistent and principled conservative,” promised to protect Florida from “threats from the left, from liberals – Democratic and Republican alike.”

— Spano promised to “check the power of the government that has begun to usurp in our individual lives” citing the Affordable Care Act and environmental regulations, and spoke emotionally of his opposition to abortion and the Roe v. Wade decision.

— Fant said he “may be the only tort reformer in the House of Representatives” and spoke of his relationship with Trump.

— Moody promised to oppose “over-regulation,” praised “my friend Gov. Scott” and said she supports Trump and his agenda.

But Moody appeared to be the top target on the stage, as Fant and White repeated charges they’ve lodged against her.

The back-and-forth got about as heated as it could in front of a crowd of well-dressed judges and lawyers in a huge Disney hotel banquet hall.

“I felt like I was back in junior high school,” said Spano.

Previously, Fant had publicly demanded, to no avail, that Moody be barred from a December state Republican Party meeting, contending she’s not a genuine Republican.

His evidence: Her family was part of a 2010 fraud lawsuit against The Trump Organization over the failed Trump Tower Tampa condominium, in which dozens of buyers lost their deposits and sued; former President Bill Clinton appointed Moody’s father to a federal judgeship; and she once worked as an assistant to then-American Bar Association President Martha Barnett of Tampa, a Democrat, who recently co-hosted a fundraiser for Moody.

He repeated those charges in form of questions directed at Moody during the forum, adding that she had donated to Democrat Bill McBride against Republican Jeb Bush in the 2002 campaign for governor.

Moody responded the litigation “has nothing to do with me being a conservative or me supporting our president and his conservative agenda” and called the attacks “unworthy of the office of Attorney General.”

White pointedly asked Moody whether she supports allowing open carry of firearms on government property including college campuses, which many state law enforcement officers, including some sheriffs backing Moody, oppose.

In the forum, she didn’t answer directly, saying she would have to see specifics of the legislation. Later, however, a campaign spokeswoman said Moody does support campus carry.

When he couldn’t ask Moody another question because of the forum rules, Fant still found a way to go after her —he asked the only Democrat at the forum, consumer lawyer Ryan Torrens of Tampa, “What positions do you share with Judge Moody?”

Torrens simply said he didn’t know — “I’m running as my own man.”

White has sent out a mailer attacking Moody on the same allegations that she’s tainted by a Democratic past, and set up a web site, “”

Moody wasn’t the only target in the forum.

She and Spano, a civil lawyer, used questions to highlight Fant’s comparative lack of experience practicing law – he’s chairman of a bank – and White’s comparative lack of experience in criminal law.

Fant responded that policy and executive experience are key to the job, and said business and management experience matter. White said the most important qualification is to be “a principled and consistent conservative.”

Asked whether they were criticizing her because she’s a frontrunner, Fant and White denied it.

White said the voters haven’t had time to form meaningful opinions yet, and Fant said, “Despite her protestations, she’s the leftward candidate.”

Both said they doubted that gender will affect the outcome in a Republican primary as it might in a Democratic primary, but Spano disagreed.

“There aren’t as many women in politics, and all other things being equal, a certain percentage even among the Republican electorate might say let’s give the woman a chance,” he said.

In an interview, Moody didn’t claim the title of frontrunner but said of the attacks, “Sometimes that indicates who people believe has the best chance of success.”

Her experience as a former judge and prosecutor sets her apart, she said.

“I think there’s going to have to be a response from my opponents as to why they don’t have the same support from the law enforcement community.”

As of the end of December, Moody, who filed in June just after Fant, had raised the most money from other contributors, about $1.5 million in her campaign, an independent committee and financial aid from the state party.

White, who filed in November, has raised about $2 million including $1.5 million from himself.

Fant has raised about $292,000 and loaned his campaign $750,000.

Spano, the latest to file in the race, has raised about $99,000 in his campaign and independent committee.

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During AG debate, Ashley Moody, Jay Fant go after each other over ‘liberal’ attacks

February 3rd, 2018
Florida Politics
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Former circuit court judge Ashley Moody and state Rep. Jay Fant went after each other hard Saturday over third-party ads charging her as “liberal,” exchanging charges during an Attorney General’s forum held during the Federalist Society Conference at Walt Disney World Saturday.

Moody and Fant were among four Republicans and one Democrat debating their campaigns for this year’s election. And while much of the debate focused on who could stake out the most conservative positions on legal issues – the answer never was Democrat Ryan Torrens, by the way – toward the end, the discussion turned personal and heated.

In front of about 400 lawyers and judges who are members of the conservative legal society at the Disney Yacht Club Resort, Moody questioned Fant about attacks on her in mailers and in other forms, which she said were false. His reply was to insist they weren’t attacks, to challenger her to say what was false, and to tell her to get used to it.

“This is what we do in the big leagues,” Fant said.

Florida Politics had reported earlier that another of the candidates, state Rep. Frank White of Pensacola, appeared to be behind the independent political committee attacks, and at one point Fant denied being behind the mailers that Moody cited. But while White and the fourth Republican, state Rep. Ross Spano of Dover, and Torrens, a private lawyer in Tampa, mostly just listened, Moody, of Tampa, laid it on Fant Saturday. And the Jacksonville representative didn’t back down.

In a debate round in which the candidates were permitted to ask questions of each other, Moody started by saying that Fant had, in a House primary election campaign, pledged to not attack a fellow Republican, and she asked of him, “I have been repeatedly attacked in this race, and I was wondering how you reconcile that with your earlier pledge from your previous race?”

Fant, who had challenged her conservative and Republican credentials before, replied to her question by calling her a “newcomer to partisan politics,” and lecturing her that, “the issues matter, and just because the issues make you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean you’re being attacked.

“I might also add I’m not the only campaign that has discussed this contrast. There is more to this. So if you’re going to support a Bill McBride over Jeb Bush, we’re going to talk about it. If you’re going to have a history of suing Donald Trump, we’re going to talk about it. If you have alliances with liberals in the bar, we’re going to have to talk about it.”

“Misleading!” Moody interrupted.

“These are not attacks. They are contrasts,” Fant continued.

“Misleading, misleading campaign fliers from multiple campaigns are attacks. Misinformation from multiple campaigns are attacks,” Moody replied. “And I would just ask that all campaigns when disseminating informant, make sure that it is factually based.”

“I’m talking about mailers. I’m talking about attacks in this race that are unjustified, misinformed, and misleading,” she added. “I believe that we need to stick to the facts. We need to stick to what makes us conservatives. And we need to stick to keeping the debate true among Republicans, and not attacking unjustifiably in any primary.”

At some point while they bickered, the moment evolved into Moody answering Fant’s question. After all, he had the next turn, and his question essentially was, “What’s false about any of it?”

“It is important that we all remember as voters that information and facts are important. Moody said. “I was involved in litigation with Mr. Trump years ago regarding a condominium development that never camp to fruition. That has nothing to do with me being a conservative, or me supporting our president and his conservative agenda in Washington,” she said. “And to put forth information in mailers that would say otherwise, to give yourself name recognition, or a leg up in a primary, is just unworthy of the office of Attorney General,” Moody said.

That answer drew applause. In fact, she drew two rounds of applause during her responses on the matter. Otherwise, during the 90-minute forum, audience reactions had been quite rare, except for a couple of occasions when people laughed at Torrens’ sometimes provocatively-Democratic answers in previous rounds of questions.

After Moody drew her first applause, Fant replied, “I have compiled no mailers in my campaign. You may be referring to another campaign at this table, and you could direct this question to them. But I have yet to understand what is inaccurate about what has been represented by me. You have sued Donald Trump for fraud. I know you don’t like it. But it is a fact, and it is part of a campaign.”

And that’s when he told her, “Ultimately, this is what we do in the big leagues.”

For much of the rest of the debate, the four Republicans sought to boast their conservative credentials, while Torrens offered mostly dramatically different responses, though on a couple of occasions, notably on the inner workings of the attorney general’s office and its use of outside counsel on cases, he agreed with some of the Republicans.

Among the most telling rounds of responses came when the five candidates were asked if they could imagine a scenario in which they would refuse to defend a state law.

The question raised issues of whether, as attorney general of Florida, how they would respond if they were called to enforce a law they objected to ethically or morally, when they had taken an attorney general oath to defend the laws of the state.

“I would frankly have to resign,” Spano offered. “I’m a big believer in natural law. And so I do believe there is a fundamental connection between law and some sense or notion of morality…. However, if there were an issue like that, that would be my approach.”

Fant said simply “No there’s not,” such a scenario in which he would not defend the state law.

White, who earlier argued that the attorney general should push back against what he called excesses of “the administrative state,” or should help Trump fight against “the deep state” at the federal level, allowed that there might be situations where the “administrative state” pushes a law too far.

“My client as attorney general isn’t the regulator. My client as attorney general is the people,” White said.

Moody, the former judge, declared that “As the chief legal officer, if I take that oath and the Legislature passes that law, I will go into court and do my job that the voters gave me to do. And if there is authority, and we all know as legal officers, if there is authority that I believe works against my argument I would have the duty to present that to the court. I would do my job.”

Torrens took a more activist role, saying “I could see a situation where the Legislature passes a law trampling on people’s constitutional rights,” particularly involving minority rights. “I feel if it is my independent determination that the law did in fact trample on people’s constitutional rights then I can see a situation where I would decline to enforce it.”

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Jay Fant presses Senate on sanctuary cities legislation ahead of bill’s first committee hearing

On Tuesday afternoon, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee will be the first Senate panel to mull the sanctuary cities ban bill (HB 9) that passed the House already.

And one of the House co-sponsors of that measure — Jacksonville Republican Jay Fant, a candidate for Attorney General — sent an email to supporters last night, urging them to sign a petition of support for the ban, and to contact senators on Judiciary to make their feelings known.

“Sanctuary cities are home to illegal immigrants and are extremely dangerous. We need all the supporters we can get to sign our petition and keep our state, and our country, safe,” Fant writes in the email.

Fant also offers a 30-second video in the email that he released for his AG campaign.

“The difference between immigration and illegal immigration is that illegal immigration is illegal,” Fant asserts. “Elected officials who prop up this paradigm of illegal immigration need to be prosecuted. They’re breaking the law.”

Fant is the second statewide politician to release a video this week inveighing against sanctuary jurisdictions.

The political committee of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, widely expected to run for Governor once the Legislative Session wraps, spent $100,000 on an ad buy warning against the dangers of sanctuary cities.

Some might say these are quixotic positions, as there are no sanctuary jurisdictions in Florida.

However, certain Democratic mayors, such as St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman and Tallahassee’s Andrew Gillum, have indicated conceptual support for the sanctuary concept.

For Republican politicians attempting to build name identification with the kinds of super voters who turn out for and decide GOP primaries, taking a strong stance on the sanctuary city issue is essential, as Corcoran and Fant clearly believe.

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Jay Fant expects Senate to have to move on sanctuary cities bill

January 11, 2018
Florida Politics
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Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jay Fant is in his last Legislative Session, and he’s carrying and co-sponsoring a number of hot-button bills.

Fant, one of a group of candidates running for Attorney General, discussed those bills with Florida Politics this week; among them, a bill he’s co-sponsoring that prohibits sanctuary jurisdictions — a priority of House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

Fant has been traveling the state campaigning and talking to county Republican parties, and he says that people see the existence of sanctuary cities as a “true affront to the sensibilities of normal folks,” places that “incubate illegal behavior.”

Florida doesn’t have sanctuary cities, even as some politicians — such as St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman — have expressed an affinity for the concept.

Fant sees the bill as heading off the potential for Florida to become California, a de facto sanctuary state. And he wonders why the Senate is “recalcitrant” in moving a bill.

Currently, the Senate version, carried by Northeast Florida’s Aaron Bean, is stalled out in Judiciary.

Fant predicts that the “heat will be on … a lot of pressure will be on the Senate” to move a bill through to the Governor’s desk.

Fant also discussed a couple of bills he introduced.

Fant’s HB 1359 (the “Soldiers’ and Heroes’ Monuments and Memorials Protection Act”) contends that any wartime monument erected after 1822 on public property may only be moved for its repair or the repair of the property containing it.

If a monument is to be “sold or repurposed,” it is to be placed somewhere of “equal prominence” as the original location. This subjective criterion may be a stumbling block for this measure in committee.

Willful defacement of a monument: a third-degree felony.

The bill’s chief imports: forestalling removal of Confederate monuments, as happened most recently in Memphis. And establishing criminal penalties for tampering, which would supersede the ordinance code or enforcement inclinations of rogue municipalities.

Fant’s hometown Jacksonville dealt with a Confederate monument removal debate in 2017; Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche took a position in favor of moving monuments to museums, as they divided the community.

Fant spotlighted Brosche’s “big policy statement” on the bill as fomenting “unnecessary division” in the community, leading him to file the bill.

As well, Fant notes that while the “War Between the States” is the current war that people want to de-memorialize Confederate actors in, such logic could apply to a different war in the future.

These bills, along with Fant’s “Free Enterprise Protection Act”, are “top of mind things that people feel passionate about,” Fant said.

The Jacksonville Republican, who carried more technical bills in his previous sessions, clearly has become more comfortable with hot-button issues as his Legislative career comes to a close.

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Jay Fant files bill to protect Confederate monuments from removal, desecration

January 8, 2018
Florida Politics
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Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican running for Attorney General, filed the latest in a series of base-pleasing bills Monday for the 2018 Legislative Session.

Fant’s HB 1359 (the “Soldiers’ and Heroes’ Monuments and Memorials Protection Act”) contends that any wartime monument erected after 1822 on public property may only be moved for its repair or the repair of the property containing it.

If a monument is to be “sold or repurposed,” it is to be placed somewhere of “equal prominence” as the original location. This subjective criterion may be a stumbling block for this measure in committee.

Willful defacement of a monument: a third-degree felony.

The bill’s chief imports: forestalling removal of Confederate monuments, as happened most recently in Memphis. And establishing criminal penalties for tampering, which would supersede the ordinance code or enforcement inclinations of rogue municipalities.

Fant’s hometown Jacksonville dealt with a Confederate monument removal debate in 2017; Jacksonville City Council President Anna Brosche took a position in favor of moving monuments to museums, as they divided the community

HCA Ocala
Polling was not in her favor, however, and Council didn’t back her play with any legislation.

Fant’s legislative docket is serving up more red meat than the butcher at Avondale’s renowned Pinegrove market.

If enacted, his “Free Enterprise Protection Act” would: “Ensure that Florida business owners are protected from government sanctions and penalties when they are exercising their first amendment rights.”

Fant was inspired to file FEPA by the case of a Colorado baker who balked at making a wedding cake for a gay couple, as said the baker saw the act of baking as sanctioning their choice to marry. FEPA would protect the free speech rights of businesses.

Fant also is carrying the House version of a Senate bill that would allow people to carry guns to, from, and during events in Florida’s great outdoors; if it clears the governor’s desk, everyone from crabbers to dog-walkers will be protected while packing heat.

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Poll shows wide-open AG race as Jay Fant releases first video

January 5, 2018
Florida Politics
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Attorney General candidate Jay Fant released his first campaign video Friday morning, just as a new poll on the contest shows it’s still anybody’s race.

When registered Republican voters were asked by St. Pete Polls who they’d vote for in the A.G. race, former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody beat Fant by about a point—10.1 percent to 9 percent.

But the overwhelming winner? “Undecided,” at 69 percent.

As for the other declared GOP candidates, state Rep. Ross Spano got 6.3 percent and fellow Rep. Frank White got 5.4 percent.

And when asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates, each one got an “unsure” rating in the 70s.

On that note, Fant—a Jacksonville Republican serving in the House—released his first video Thursday.

“Why I Fight” depicts Fant as a conservative small businessman who is not part of what he calls the political “elite.”

“I’m not a career politician,” Fant says. “My career is in small business.”

“I’m getting involved in politics because I can’t sit at ringside anymore watching hardworking Floridians get abused by reckless politicians and big government,” he says.

In the new video, Fant delineates his platform: He will fight to ensure that law enforcement officers “receive the support they need.”

As well, he’ll “protect our Constitutional rights from any and all infringement.”

There are no sanctuary cities in Florida, and Fant will keep it that way, vowing to end them, describing them as a “safe haven for illegal immigrants.”

Fant also opposes gun restrictions — “for sport and for protection” — on Second Amendment grounds. Fant will “fight for open carry and Stand Your Ground.”

Fant supports religious freedom, vowing that people will “not be forced to do something outside [their] beliefs.” And he opposes the kind of regulatory state overreach that adversely impacts small businesses.

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AG race drama: Jay Fant wants Ashley Moody barred from state GOP meeting

Florida Politics
December 13th, 2017

One Attorney General candidate is asserting that a rival for the Republican nomination should be barred from the party’s annual January meeting in Orlando.

In a letter to Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, Jacksonville Rep. Jay Fant wants it known that he believes retired Hillsborough County Judge and Attorney General candidate Ashley Moody is a “Clinton liberal” and has no business in a Republican Party meeting — or using GOP resources: “Our Party is being deceived into allowing a Clinton liberal access to our leaders, staff and financial resources … Ashley Moody is not a candidate we can trust but instead a true liberal and proud of it.”

The tripartite j’accuse cites “press accounts which demonstrate the Moody family’s long relationship with the Clinton family and their allies, including Moody’s father who received a lifetime appointment to the federal bench from Bill Clinton.”

As well, Fant notes that “Moody was as an assistant and speechwriter to left wing American Bar Association President Martha Barnett, a close ally to Hillary Clinton. She proudly represents this on her website.”

Fant also notes that “Moody sued Donald Trump for fraud.”

“I believe that it is in the party’s best interest that Ashley Moody, a closet liberal and Clinton ally who has sued Trump, be denied access to our meeting. The 2018 election ballot is absolutely critical from top to bottom and we simply cannot waste time with candidates who have to hide their past involvement with the Clintons in order to win,” Fant asserted.

Moody, via a spokesperson, finds this laughable.

“It is laughable that a candidate running to be Florida’s Chief Legal Officer would offer up such erroneous and egregious attacks on the proven record of a former and well respected federal prosecutor and circuit court judge. Ashley Moody is pro-Second Amendment and the only candidate who has supported Second Amendment priorities like Stand Your Ground in the courtroom,” said Christina Johnson on behalf of Moody.

“These are real world distinctions that matter to voters, and issues which Ashley Moody has shared with Republican activists across the state these last months and throughout her career. Not only is Ashley Moody a staunch supporter of our President, but she has secured the endorsements of those who worked tirelessly on behalf of the President’s campaign, including law enforcement officials and elected leaders across the state. We look forward to highlighting these conservative values at the January RPOF meeting,” Johnson added.

Fant has staked out the Trump lane in the primary, a crowded field of well-financed candidates.

Fant has nearly $1 million on hand between his political committee and campaign account.

Moody, between her political committee and campaign account, has over $1.2 million on hand.

However, both of them are chasing Pensacola Rep. Frank White, who has $1.95 million on hand between campaign and committee accounts.

Rep. Ross Spano, new to the race, has just $50,000 in his campaign account.

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Jay Fant bill targets governmental ‘discriminatory actions’ against businesses

Florida Politics
December 5th, 2017

Rep. Jay Fant, a Jacksonville Republican who is running for Attorney General, filed what he calls the “Free Enterprise Protection Act” on Tuesday.

HB 871 would prevent “discriminatory action” by any governmental entity in the state against businesses.

The bill, per a press release from Fant’s AG campaign, is timed to coincide with the U.S. Supreme Court hearing oral arguments on a “Colorado wedding cake baker declining to make a unique wedding cake celebrating gay marriage because it was against his religious beliefs as a Christian.

Fant asserted that case “should make small businesses in Florida and everywhere worry about just how far government is allowed to go to regulate the free speech of private industry. I filed the ‘Free Enterprise Protection Act’ today to ensure that Florida business owners are protected from government sanctions and penalties when they are exercising their first amendment rights, whether through their speech or their work as an artisan, as in the case of the wedding cake baker.”

“The government simply should not force business owners to create things they do not want to create. The more and more regulations that are handed down from government, the less and less freedom we have,” Fant added.

Fant said the bill would “guarantee government cannot act in a discriminatory way toward a business by using their force through the assessment of taxes, penalties or any other means to bankrupt or harm a business when they are exercising their First Amendment rights.”

He also said discriminatory action would include attempts by government to “alter the tax treatment” of businesses, which would include imposing penalties against them for crimes unlisted in the legislation as filed.

It would also include attempts to deny or revoke a business’s exemption from taxation, as well as withholding or denying a business’s “access or entitlement” to property, including “speech forums.”

The bill would also prohibit governments in Florida from discriminating against “internal policies” of businesses, as well as the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Fant’s bill, if passed, could be used as a springboard to challenge local laws that conflict with rights enumerated in the bill, including Jacksonville’s own Human Rights Ordinance.

The HRO, as it is called locally, was expanded in 2016 to include LGBT people, protecting their rights in the workplace, in the housing market, and in public accommodations, such as restrooms and locker rooms.

Fant told Jacksonville Republicans earlier this year that Mayor Lenny Curry could have done more to stop that bill, which was approved by 2/3 of the City Council, from becoming law.

Worth noting: Curry endorsed Rep. Frank White over Fant for Attorney General.

Both White and Curry employ Tim Baker and Brian Hughes as political consultants.

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Jay Fant: I agree with Marco Rubio. Al Franken must go

Florida Politics
November 27th, 2017

Jacksonville Republican Rep. and Attorney General candidate Jay Fant said Monday that he agrees with Sen. Marco Rubio‘s declaration over the weekend that the sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Al Franken are so egregious that the Minnesota Democrat should resign immediately.

“Senator Franken has already admitted to mistreating women in a way that would be offensive to come from any person, but is completely out-of-bounds for an elected official representing our public trust. He must go,” Fant said in a statement. “As the father of two daughters, I am sickened by public officials misusing the power of their office for harassment. Sexual harassment is wrong in any workplace, but is especially disgusting when it involves someone who represents the public trust.”

On Sunday, Rubio told CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede that the accusations of groping made against Franken are “horrifying,” “outrageous” and “offensive.” He added: “I do think on that alone he should consider resigning.”

The accusations against Franken began on Nov. 16, when Los Angeles radio personality Leeann Tweeden released a photograph that appeared to show Franken grabbing her breasts while she was asleep and wearing protective military gear. She also charged that the then-comedian forcibly kissed her while the two were rehearsing a skit.

Since her story went public, three additional women made similar accusations of sexual misconduct against Franken.

Franken said Monday that he was “tremendously sorry” and hoped to regain the trust of those he has let down, but also said that he would not resign over the controversy.

Fant is in a competitive four-person race to win the Republican nomination for Attorney General in 2018. He says if elected, he would create a position for a confidential investigator and an ethics officer.

“This person will have a background in working with sexual assault victims and will be able to meet with victims confidentially when the harassment involves a public official and refer information to law enforcement or the Ethics Commission, as appropriate,” he said. “We have a responsibility to protect the public, especially when it means protecting them from their very people who took an oath of office to serve their best interests at all times.”

Fant was equally as harsh regarding the plight of embattled Alabama Judge Roy Moore, who continues to campaign in a special election for the U.S. Senate next month, despite calls from Republicans from around the country to drop out following reports that he dated underage females nearly four decades ago.

“Sexual assault is a disgusting act that we shouldn’t take lightly,” Fant told Florida Politics earlier this month. “Under our Constitution, Roy Moore is entitled to due process. But if these allegations are true, Roy Moore belongs in prison, not the U.S. Senate.”

Fant is running against former Hillsborough County judge Ashley Moody and fellow state House Reps. Ross Spano and Frank White in next August’s primary.

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