On Monday, Aramis Ayala, the former State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, announced on Twitter that she will be exploring a run for the U.S. Senate against current Senator Marco Rubio in 2022.
Ayala’s announcement on Twitter states “You know me as a principled fighter for what is right and someone who will always show up for Florida…someone who bases decisions on facts and evidence, one who values and respects science.”
With the help from George Soros, a billionaire who contributed $1.4 million into political committees supporting her, Ayala was the first African American State Attorney in Florida’s history after a surprising win over former State Attorney Jeff Ashton in 2016. Once in office, she was no stranger to controversy as she banned prosecutors from pursuing the death penalty in her district. Although Ayala was seen as a pioneer in death penalty reform to Democrats, Republicans criticized her actions and pushed for the Florida Supreme Court decision in 2017 that established that the death penalty may not be refused in capital murder cases.
Although her stance on the death penalty was the main reason for controversy, Ayala pursued other criminal justice reforms including issues regarding juvenile justice, bail, non-violent crimes, and domestic violence that would solidify her as a criminal justice reformer. In 2018, she contributed to the political campaign of former Florida Governor candidate Andrew Gillum prior to the scandal involving a sex-worker and in a South Beach hotel. In 2020, still facing heavy opposition from Republicans, Ayala decided not to run for reelection and was succeeded by Monique Worrell, another criminal justice reformer.
She will join other Democrats who are likely to become official candidates in the 2022 Senate race that include U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Windermere and former congressional candidate Allen Ellison of Wauchula.
Ayala has been the most vocal about her plans to run for U.S. Senate and stated, “I am exploring a run for the United States Senate, and if I do, I am prepared to win!”
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Casey Owens is a writer at The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Aramis Ayala” by Aramis Ayala.