Mike Weinstein to run for public defender

Mike Weinstein
Mike Weinstein

A local attorney who is no stranger to public office announced Monday he will run for public defender of the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

Mike Weinstein says he will challenge Matt Shirk in the 2016 election. Both men are Republicans.

Weinstein is a former state representative and ran unsuccessfully for Florida Senate in 2012 and mayor of Jacksonville in 2003. He was aide to mayors Ed Austin and John Delaney and headed Jacksonville's Super Bowl Host Committee.

Weinstein has worked for the state attorney's office both in the 1990s before entering politics and under the current administration of Angela Corey.  He currently is the executive director of Volunteers in Medicine and had filed as a candidate for a seat on the Jacksonville City Council.

Shirk has been under scrutiny since last summer and Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor to investigate hiring practices in his office.

At a City Council finance committee meeting on Tuesday, Shirk told News4Jax's Jim Piggott he had no comment on Weinstein's candidacy, saying he was focused on his work, not on a future campaign.