Voters get to pick the nominees for one of the three Florida Cabinet posts on Aug. 24, for which early voting starts Monday.
The other two — commissioner of agriculture and chief financial officer — have only one candidate in each party so no primary is required. Not so for attorney general.
Republican: Holly Benson of Pensacola
If there is a statewide candidate with credentials tailor-made for this year, it would be Benson. This veteran of the Florida House also brings credentials as chief of two state agencies — the Department of Professional Regulation and the Agency for Health Care Administration — dealing with timely public policy.
She is ready to pick up where today’s attorney general, fellow Republican Bill McCollum, leaves off on cybercrime, gangs, prescription drug abuse, immigration, health care and BP oil, a local issue for her.
Benson is the surprise public servant of tomorrow in this year’s statewide field.
Also in race: Pam Bondi, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp.
Who can vote? All 91,000 Republicans in Collier and 154,000 Republicans in Lee.
Democrat: Dan Gelber of Miami Beach
While our editorial board thinks highly of Gelber’s opponent, Dave Aronberg, and has enthusiastically endorsed his Florida Senate campaigns and legislation in the past, the question in this race comes down to heft: Which of the two would we want as our state’s top law-enforcement officer?
Gelber’s experience as a federal prosecutor gets the nod. For nearly a decade starting in the mid-1980s, he handled marquee public-corruption, civil-rights and narcotics prosecutions. He went on to work for the U.S. Senate on counterterrorism and domestic security, and fraud and waste in government.
Add terms in the Florida House and Senate and you have a resume that overpowers Aronberg’s few years as a federal prosecutor and seven years in the state Senate.
We hope Aronberg stays connected to politics and public service.
Who can vote? All 46,000 Democrats in Collier and 108,000 Democrats in Lee.
What happens next? The winner of each primary advances to the Nov. 2 general election to face an independent candidate.
Need more voting information? Call the Collier Supervisor of Elections Office at 252-8450 or go online to colliervotes.com; in Lee, call the Supervisor of Elections Office at 533-8683 or go online to leeelections.com.