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Suspended State Attorney Andrew Warren And Appointed State Attorney Suzy Lopez Face-Off At Political Forum

   Candidates for Hillsborough State Attorney, Suzy Lopez, Elizabeth Martinez Strauss and Andrew Warren. Public Defender candidates, Lisa McLean and Rocky Brancato.

     The three candidates for the Hillsborough County state attorney position along with the two candidates running for Hillsborough Public Defender met for a debate recently during the Tampa Tiger Bay Club political forum in Ybor City.

    Suspended Hillsborough County state attorney, Democrat Andrew Warren, current appointed state attorney, Republican Suzy Lopez, and Democrat Elizabeth Martinez Strauss faced off with a large crowd on hand.

     Candidates Warren and the governor’s appointee to the job, Suzy Lopez took the gloves off during the debate. It didn’t take long for Lopez to throw the first punch.

    Just a few minutes into the Tampa Tiger Bay Club debate in Ybor City, she said she took an oath to defend the Constitution and alleged that the State Attorney’s office was dysfunctional prior to her taking over.

      Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Warren in 2022 after he pledged not to prosecute new state laws on abortion and transgender health care. Federal courts have since found that DeSantis violated the constitution by removing Warren from office.

     Warren, early on said he would not run again for the office; however, said he changed his mind after a federal appeals court ruled that a federal judge could reinstate him to office. A decision from that judge has not yet been issued.

     Warren introduced himself to cheers from the audience at the Hotel Haya as “still the duly-elected state attorney.”

    “I wasn’t illegally appointed because of my politics and I was reelected with support from Democrats, Independents and Republicans because we had tremendous success,” he said.

     “We’ve had tremendous success working with law enforcement and no controversy until the governor’s political stunt threw out your votes, broke the law and jeopardized our democracy.”

      Warren will face Tampa lawyer Elizabeth Martinez Strauss in the Democratic primary in August. Lopez, a Republican, is unopposed.

    The two candidates for Hillsborough public defender: Lisa McLean and Rocky Brancato are vying to replace the retiring Public Defender, Julianne Holt. Both are Democrats.

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