Miami-Dade County

Fernandez Rundle considers bid for Florida governor or AG

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, shown in this June 3, 2016, file photo, is considering a bid for statewide office in Florida in 2018.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, shown in this June 3, 2016, file photo, is considering a bid for statewide office in Florida in 2018. Miami Herald

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle recently huddled with some political consultants to talk about running for statewide office in 2018.

Fernandez Rundle is mostly interested in the possibility of running for governor but didn't rule out running for attorney general, said State Rep. Joe Geller, an Aventura Democrat who organized the meeting at her home Memorial Day weekend.

Political consultants at the meeting with Fernandez Rundle included Craig Smith, who consulted for Hillary Clinton's campaign in Florida and was political director during Bill Clinton’s White House, and Eric Johnson who worked on U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy's campaigns and Ashley Walker, who was Florida state director for Barack Obama's 2012 campaign

Fernandez Rundle had no timeline for making a decision, said Geller, who spoke on her behalf.

Fernandez Rundle was first appointed state attorney in 1993 and has since won re-election multiple times. She was the first Cuban-American state attorney in Florida.

In May, protesters packed a Miami-Dade Democratic Party meeting to criticize Fernandez Rundle’s decision not to charge any correctional officers in the death of an inmate who collapsed in the shower. Darren Rainey, a 50-year-old inmate who was mentally ill, was locked in a hot shower for more than 90 minutes on June 23, 2012, after smearing himself with feces at the Dade Correctional Institution.

Fernandez Rundle defended herself for about a half hour and pointed to a finding by a medical examiner who concluded that Rainey's injuries were not burns but skin slippage that occurred after death due to decomposition.

Several Democrats have filed to run for governor, including former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando businessman Chris King, but no well-known Democrat has announced a bid for attorney general. Foreclosure lawyer Ryan Torrens, who lives in Odessa, is the only Democrat to file so far for attorney general, while Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler is considering a bid.

On the Republican side for governor, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is the front runner. Former Hillsborough Circuit Judge Ashley Moody and state Rep. Jay Fant of Jacksonville are running for AG.

Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, both Republicans, are term limited.

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