Two candidates fighting for your vote to be the next Florida state attorney faced off Friday.
Chris Crowley and Amira Fox didn’t hold back as WINK News reporter Oliver Redsten moderated the debate at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples.
“I think it’s getting really ugly, which is said. As a voter, I’m very emphatic about doing my own research. The truth and the facts matter,” said April Hoover, who said she’ll vote for Crowley.
The candidates traded jabs during the debate, but this time Crowley got personal with his opponent and her boss State Attorney Stephen Russell
“They tried to have me arrested. That’s ridiculous. On a $670 raffle where I gave the money back,” Crowley said.
The raffle in question was at a crowley campaign event in Buckingham. The state attorney’s office asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate it as a possible felony violation of campaign laws.
“And all of a sudden I’ve got the state attorney referring criminal charges that the FDLE thought was a joke when I met with them yesterday,” he added.
Crowley railed against Fox and what he calls the low conviction rate of the 20th circuit, but Fox says that the conviction rate number being referenced is totally inaccurate.
Fox voters we talked to called crowley’s claims baseless. Priscilla Grannis said “He repeats over and over the same lies. Even though he has been shown specific proof to the contrary.”
But crowley supporters say he’s fighting to fix a broken system. Even though his opponent has the endorsement of all five active sheriffs in the 20th circuit – and the incumbent, Stephen Russell.
“All these endorsements. It’s like David and Goliath is the way I look at it. I feel like Chris is David and she’s Goliath,” Hoover said.
Stephen Russell is retiring after 16 years as the state attorney for the 20th circuit.
Crowley and Fox will square off in the Republican Primary on August 28.