WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The political heat is being turned up on Dave Aronberg, the Democratic candidate for Palm Beach County State Attorney.
During a debate sponsored by the Palm Beach County Economic Forum, one of his opponents, Dina Keever didn't mention Dave Aronberg by name in her opening statement. But she looked in his direction as she talked about ethics.
"Not only have I never crossed that line, I have never even come close to that line. As a state attorney, or as a state attorney candidate," said Keever.
The Republican Keever is trying to make political hay out of a story run this weekend in the Palm Beach Post.
It claims that last November, Aronberg leaned on then millionaire supporter, Marty O'Boyle, to hire actors to stage a protest against then sitting state attorney Michael McAuliffe.
The third candidate in the race, independent Robert Gershman, jumped on board too, questioning Aronberg's operating style.
"Engages people for their money last year in order to get a leg up without filing to get Mr. McAuliffe ejected from his seat," said Gershman.
Aronberg denied those claims yesterday to us, but never addressed his political tactics during the debate. He also called himself a crusader for ethics reform.
"When I was a state senator, I wrote and helped pass, it was my bill, the only anti public corruption law that has passed the legislature in recent years," said Aronberg.
Though there was discussion about white collar crime and whether they support non-partisan elections, they all do, Aronberg's opponents signaled that attacks against him, possibly for the duration of the race, would hinge on the way they say Aronberg does political business.
"Now we learn that those same tactics that were used not only to eliminate an opponent, but to get rid of an incumbent. It doesn't matter what party. It happened. I'm here to tell you we've got to put an end to it," said Keever.
Aronberg told us exclusively yesterday that he ran a legitimate campaign to criticize Michael McAuliffe, saying it centered around poor conviction rates.
Aronberg also says he wants to rise above negative campaigning, that the Palm Beach Post expose was unfairly written and based on a source with ties to candidate Robert Gershman.