MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The packed Democratic primary for Broward State Attorney had former Broward prosecutor Harold Fernandez Pryor leading the race late Tuesday evening.
With 577 of 577 precincts reporting, Fernandez Pryor had received 43,712 votes (21.2 percent).
“We need a state attorney that is willing to work with various community stake holders, willing to go to Tallahassee to advocate laws that can change our community for the better. We need a state attorney that is not absent but visible,” said Pryor.
The Democratic nominee will face Republican Gregg Rossman and independent Sheila Alu in November.
After 44 years on the job, Broward State Attorney Mike Satz is not seeking re-election.
There are eight Democratic candidates seeking the office of the low-key, publicly shy, old school prosecutor.
David Cannady worked in the Obama campaign and administration and is now an assistant Broward state attorney.
“Right now, we need something different mindset in the position, hiring, training, but understanding the administrative portion, how to deal with legislation in Tallahassee because the state attorney’s office has the ability to advocate reform legislation in Tallahassee,” said Cannady.
Attorney Joe Kimok advocates a criminal justice policy based on rehabilitation, not punishment and mass incarceration.
“Where as Mr. Satz and the tough on crime movement that has plagued us for so long has invested in prison and jails and arrests and prosecutions. We just think that we know, data has shown that has not kept us safe, has not kept us free and we think it is time for a new vision,” stated Kimok.
Long time lawyer Jim Lewis pitches a tough on crime platform.
“I am going to fight public corruption. If people are going to political office and not do what they are supposed to do, they are gonna take bribes and steal our money then I am going to go after them. I am going to make sure they are going to jail. Jim Lewis is going to put their asses in jail,” he said.
Many candidates like lawyer and ex-Coconut Creek Mayor Josh Rydell says you have got to meet the public.
“We need a state attorney that is going to take a leadership role in county wide issues because if we do not have real leadership we are not going to bring all the municipalities in the county to the table to find ways to halt crime not just punish it,” said Rydell.
Sarahnell Murphy, a 25-year veteran prosecutor and assistant Broward state attorney, advocates more public exposure.
“The number one priority is rebuilding the public trust in what we do. In order to do that it is important for me to be visible. I have always been assessable, but as far as the public view an opportunity for them to see and hear what we are doing is critical to building trust in the criminal justice system,” said Murphy.
Justin McCormack is also an assistant Broward state attorney with the public corruption unit.
“My goal is to protect the community, see justice, protect the community by trying to get people out of the system. Get out of it and don’t make them repeat offenders or put them in a position where they become career criminals, where they could avoid that,” said McCormack.
Teresa Fanning-Williams has years of experience as a prosecutor in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties. She ran against her boss Michael Satz in 2016.
“I consider education as the most important thing a state attorney can do. And I think a state attorney can do and that is one of the things we have not been doing across the board,” said Fanning-Williams.
Harold Fernandez Pryor is a former Broward prosecutor.