Ashley Moody handily defeats Sean Shaw to become Florida's next attorney general


  • Photo via VoteAshleyMoody/Facebook
Republican Ashley Moody will become the state's next attorney general, after defeating Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw in Tuesday's election.

It was an easy win for Moody, a former Hillsborough County Circuit judge, as she bested Shaw by more than 500,000 votes. According to a report from the TC Palm, by 10 p.m. Tuesday, the race had already begun to lean heavily in Moody's favor; on stage, with state Attorney General Pam Bondi and her family by her side, she called the outcome "an honor."

Continued GOP control of the state's top prosecutor will likely prove chilling to future progressive interests, and Moody's win served as a rebuke to Shaw, who used his campaign platform to call for the office to investigate President Donald Trump's tax returns and business dealings in Florida.

The two candidates, both of whom are based in the Tampa area, couldn't have differed more. Moody describes herself as "strongly pro-life" and in favor of gun rights, including the state's "stand your ground" law, open carry and campus carry. She's also pledged to keep Florida in a lawsuit filed by conservative states that seeks to have the Affordable Care Act – President Barack Obama's landmark legislation – declared unconstitutional.

"That lawsuit is about pushing back on Washington overreach," Moody said during the candidates' only televised debate earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Shaw, a first-term state Legislature member and the son of Florida's first black Supreme Court chief justice, focused his message on Trump's unfitness to hold office. During the race, he promised to join a lawsuit by Democratic attorneys general across the country that seeks access to the president's tax returns and an investigation into whether Trump has violated the the emoluments clause, which is a constitutional ban on a president receiving payments from a foreign source. In particular, Shaw said he would look into Russian money laundering within Trump's Florida properties. Shaw has also called for further "common sense gun reform."

Money in election politics isn't everything, but it's not the worst lifeboat to hop into, as Moody outspent Shaw $8.8 million to $4.1 million through their campaign accounts and affiliated political committees.

On stage during his concession speech, Shaw told supporters Tuesday night, "Something is weird, and we have to figure that out. The voters aren't wrong. You're wrong in talking to them, or we didn't do a good enough job convincing Democrats around Florida. We're going to figure this out."

We'll see.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.