Orlando’s State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who did not face a Republican challenger in her 2016 election, already has drawn her first GOP challenger for 2020.
Kevin Morenski, 31, a criminal defense and family law attorney in Orlando, has filed to run against her and offered blistering criticism of her decision to not seek the death penalty in any cases in Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, which covers Orange and Osceola counties.
“If you are a state attorney you must be able to pursue the death penalty,” he said. “If you can’t do that, you have no business being a state attorney.”
Except for a period in college when he was active with campus Libertarians, Morenski, who says he’s a lifelong Republican, is a newcomer to politics. He is a former paramedic who went to graduate school at Columbia University and law school at Florida State University, entering the Florida Bar in 2013. His experience as a paramedic, he said, has given him particular insight into the dangers faced by first responders and solidified his belief that murders of law enforcement officers – as Markeith Loyd is charged for doing in Ayala’s highest profile case – must face death penalties.
He said he was upset that no Republicans challenged her in 2016 and, after watching her press conference last Thursday, he decided he should run so that she has competition in 2020.
Despite his youth and limited legal experience Morenski said he is ready.
“I am showing I am capable of doing this because I have take the initial steps in the effort to run,” he said. “No one else has.”