JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A month away from a state attorney election steeped in controversy, the Northeast Florida race continues to turn ugly as the first negative ad hit the airwaves aimed at current State Attorney Angela Corey.
The ad is from First Coast Values, a political action committee backing Melissa Nelson, who is opposing her former boss.
Wes White, another former Corey employee, is also seeking the office.
The First Coast Values ad, which asserts that Corey has become a millionaire during her eight years in office, appears to stretch the truth in some parts.
“Let's tell Angela Corey eight is enough,” the ad says.
Corey had not seen the ad until News4Jax showed it to her, but she knew it was from a pro-Nelson PAC.
“This woman should not be state attorney, so they are going to do everything they can to be negative on me,” Corey said. “There is a legal and logical explanation for every bit of that.”
The ad alleges that Corey wants to be re-elected because she's become a millionaire during her first two terms.
Corey said the ad got the figure right, but that doesn't tell the whole story.
“It's correct. I'm 61 years old. I've been working for 37 years, and a lot of that is the value of my home,” Corey said. “I'm proud to say I own (it), and it's mortgage free, and the contents of my home, which I've inherited and collected over the years, and the savings. I save over $2,000 a month from the time that I've been elected.”
The ad also also accuses Corey of using “hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to give herself special pension benefits” and of giving “pay raises to employees who contributed to her campaign.”
“A lot of the people who supported me did not get pay raises,” Corey countered. “And a lot of the people that got pay raises did not support me. So again, this is an overblown exaggeration.”
Corey said Nelson also accepted raises when she worked in the State Attorney's Office.
For now, Corey’s ads are not negative, but she said more will come out soon about Nelson, referring to a grand jury investigation in Flagler County that Nelson was involved in, along with former State Attorney Harry Shorstein.
“I think Melissa Nelson is trying to deflect from her grand jury ethical issues,” Corey said. “The one in Flagler County is going to consume her, where a sitting circuit judge has said she ran a tainted grand jury.”
News4Jax also asked White about the ad.
“She is Angela Corey version 2.0, but she has better packaging and she is a lot meaner,” White said.
Nelson's campaign issued a statement Thursday saying the assertions in the ad are “supported by the public record.”
“As for the ridiculous coordinated attacks from Corey and her friend Wes White, they are false and reek of desperation,” the statement read.
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