Updated Apr 16, 2024 - News

Prosecutor ousted by DeSantis seeks to reclaim post

Andrew Warren at his home in Tampa, Fla. on Aug. 7, 2022.

Andrew Warren at his home in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 7, 2022. Photo: Thomas Simonetti for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Andrew Warren launched his campaign for Hillsborough County state attorney on Tuesday, looking to reclaim the office from which Gov. Ron DeSantis ousted him.

Why it matters: Warren's announcement tees up a showdown with his DeSantis-appointed successor, Suzy Lopez. It allows voters to decide for themselves what DeSantis decided for them two years ago.

Catch up quick: Warren, a Democrat, was elected state attorney in 2016 and 2020. DeSantis suspended Warren in 2022 over a pledge he signed not to criminalize abortion and gender-affirming medical care.

  • Warren then sued DeSantis to get his job back, claiming that DeSantis violated the First Amendment.
  • A federal judge ruled last year that DeSantis had violated Warren's rights but that the court didn't have the power to undo the suspension.
  • An appeals court agreed that the governor had violated Warren's rights but disagreed that nothing could be done. It ordered the lower court to reconsider the case and determine whether to reinstate him.

What they're saying: "DeSantis threw out your vote," Warren says in his announcement video. "My late son. My beautiful daughters. My strong wife. They inspire me to serve others β€” to do good. That's why I took [him] to court."

  • "My unelected replacement was handpicked based on one qualification: her blind allegiance to Ron DeSantis," he continues.
  • "I'm running to protect our values, for a woman's right to choose, for a fair and just system, and β€” above all β€” for freedom and democracy."

The other side: "The contrast is clear, it's liberal politician Andrew Warren vs. hard-nosed career prosecutor Suzy Lopez," Ryan Smith, senior strategist for Lopez's campaign, tells Axios.

  • "Without question, Hillsborough residents are Safer with Suzy."

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