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7th Judicial Circuit state attorney

District covers St. Johns, Flagler, Putnam and Volusia counties

Florida judicial circuits map
Florida judicial circuits map

Republican incumbent State Attorney R.J. Larizza is being challenged by independent candidate Don Dempsey.

Because there are no party primary challenges, this race will only appear on the general election ballot in November.


Don Dempsey

Party: No party affiliation

Age: 54

Candidate’s family: Married to Angela Dempsey. 3 children Michael, Grayson and Elizabeth

Occupation: Attorney

Education: University of Pittsburgh. - Southern Illinois University

Political experience: None

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • Criminal Reform
  • Stop mass incarceration on victimless crimes
  • Implementing an Economic crimes unit

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

During my 30 years in criminal law I have witnessed an erosion of our constitutional protections. Common sense prosecution has been done away with in exchange for "tough on crime" rhetoric. The end result is the incarceration of more Americans per capita than any other country. We need to stop mass incarceration.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

For bringing common sense prosecution back to the 7th Judicial Circuit.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

Justice should be blind. A person's race should never be a factor in a case. If any discrimination is discovered, it will be addressed promptly and rectified. Racial discrimination will not be tolerated.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

It has stopped the ability of defendants to have a speedy trial of their peers.

Campaign website: (no answer)

Campaign social media pages: (no answer)


R.J. Larizza

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 62

Candidate’s family: Wife - Trish Larizza, married 29+ years, two Kids - Justin and Ashley, five grandkids with the sixth due in December

Occupation: Elected State Attorney 7th Judicial Circuit

Education: Bishop Kenny High School, B.S. Troy State University Criminal Justice, Juris Doctorate Mercer University

Political experience: I was elected your State Attorney in August of 2008 and took Office in January of 2009. I also served as President of the Florida Prosecuting Attorney’s Association for two years (2017/2018)

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • The safety and well-being of the Citizens of the 7th Circuit.
  • Smart Justice.
  • Specialty and Diversion courts/programs

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

I have worked in the Criminal Justice system since 1980, as a Probation Officer, Private Attorney, Prosecutor and your elected State Attorney. My diverse and significant experience makes me uniquely qualified for the position. In the last 12 years I have created policies and programs that resulted in a prolific and profound reduction in crime. I have built excellent and fruitful relationships with Law Enforcement, Corrections, Treatment Providers, the State Legislature, Community Leaders and other stakeholders that allow me to implement policies and programs that make our communities better and safer.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

Implementing programs and policies that have resulted in historic crime reduction. Improving the quality of life for the Citizens of the 7th Judicial Circuit, and keeping them safe and sound!

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

Supervising Attorneys train, monitor and mentor Prosecutors on equitable and ethical prosecution. All Prosecutors are responsible and accountable for their actions. All cases are reviewed on their own merits, and decisions made are based on objective, reasonable and fair considerations. Prosecutors know that decisions based on race or gender or other inappropriate considerations have no place in the State Attorney's Office.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

I implemented a paperless initiative in 2009, and as a result the impact of Covid 19 has been significantly mitigated because 95%+ of our staff is working productively from home. The financial impact of the Covid has already affected our budget with cuts of at least 6.5% with more cuts possible. In anticipation of lean times, we have employed fiscal responsibility measures and avoided layoffs and/or furloughs. Additionally, with live and in person courtroom proceedings subject to social distancing and monitoring, the ability to resolve cases has been affected. Finally, the Florida Supreme Court has prohibited jury trials since mid March, and that is creating a backlog that must be addressed and resolved.

Campaign website: under construction

Campaign social media pages: Facebook