After months of wondering whether Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody would face any challengers in the 2022 general election, Ft. Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer and Democrat Jim Lewis has emerged as a candidate.

Lewis released a statement slamming Moody for her opposition towards public health mandates amid the pandemic, as well as her position on challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election.

According to a report by Florida Politics, Lewis also called Moody a disciple of Donald Trump in which he wrote, “Don’t Trump my Florida.”

“We don’t need elected officials who put political party over country and purposely seek to divide the country. We must move on together as a state away from right-wing ideology that doesn’t care about the things that are important. We need to focus on protecting our fragile environment, doing something to stop gun violence with common sense gun control, and making our criminal justice system fair for everybody,” he added.

Lewis emerging as a candidate is no surprise given that he has been involved in Florida politics since 1981 when he began serving as assistant State Attorney of Orlando until 1984. From 1985 to 1986, Lewis worked as a special prosecutor in the office of former Florida Governor Bob Graham, then became the assistant statewide prosecutor for the state Attorney’s Office from 1987 to 1992. Lewis has served as a criminal defense attorney at his own private practice since 1993, where he currently works.

While Lewis has a magnitude of experience in law, specifically from the state attorney’s perspective, he will need way more than experience to overcome the fundraising advantage Moody has surmounted since she began her campaign. The Florida Capital Star reported Moody’s fundraising pace only trails that of Gov. DeSantis.

Moody’s campaign, Friends of Ashley Moody, raised $196,000 in August and had a total amount of cash on hand of $2.3 million. Florida Politics reported Moody’s fundraising numbers for September – the month Moody officially announced her campaign – skyrocketed to $700,000.

With Moody having such a head start, Lewis must make up a lot of financial ground if he expects to contend with Moody. While Lewis seems to be the front-runner to compete against Moody, more candidates may emerge as the election gets closer.

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jim Lewis” by Jim Lewis and photo “Ashley Moody” by Ashley Moody.