Veteran Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has an opponent in the upcoming Democratic primary in August: Miami defense attorney Rod Vereen.
As he announced his candidacy Tuesday, Vereen said a change is needed. He said Miami-Dade County “deserves a professional prosecutor and not a 20-year career politician.”
“I know that there’s a breakdown in communication – and look, if there's a breakdown in communication between those that have the power to prosecute and those that have the power to arrest, our communities are in trouble,” he said.
Former Miami-Dade Police director Bobby Parker, who was at Vereen’s side during his news conference, said he absolutely agrees that police and the prosecutors’ office are at odds with each other.
Fernandez Rundle, who has been Miami-Dade’s state attorney since 1993, said Tuesday she is eager to talk about what she calls her successes as the county's top prosecutor.
“We'll have the opportunity to talk about our record and what we've done over the years and how crime is down and how we've impacted that and our successes. So in a way it's a good opportunity for the office to get out there and talk about what we've done and who we are and what we stand for,” said Fernandez Rundle in Tallahassee, where she was attending the first meeting of the task force Gov. Rick Scott formed to examine Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Fernandez Rundle was an assistant state attorney for 15 years before she was first elected to her position 19 years ago. She ran unopposed in her last election in 2008.
This year’s primary is Aug. 14. Because two other lawyers, Omar Malone and Michele Samaroo, have filed to run as “write-in” candidates, the primary will be restricted to Democratic voters only.
“I trust the voters, I think they're smarter than sometimes people give them credit for, I think that they know who has worked with them and who is fair and accessible and honest, and I hope I'm one of those,” Fernandez Rundle said.
Her opponent, meantime, said “it is time that the people of Miami-Dade County have a State Attorney’s Office that is not politically motivated, that treats all of its citizens equally, and not based on wealth or status.”