Special Prosecutor David Aronberg to run for Palm Beach County State Attorney

Decision comes after Michael McAuliffe leaves race

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Dave Aronberg, a special prosecutor and former State Senator, will run for Palm Beach County State Attorney.

Aronberg made the announcement Thursday afternoon.

"Families have the right to live without the threats of gangs and pill mills operating in their city," he said. "Crime affects all of us, and if I am given the opportunity to serve, the State Attorney's Office will be about justice, not politics."

The announcement comes two days after State Attorney Michael McAuliffe said he would not seek re-election and return to the private sector.

Aronberg, a Democrat and a former Florida State Senator, told NewsChannel 5 he had been interested in the office for a while.

"The most important thing is that the next State Attorney needs to have a passion for justice, because the job of the State Attorney isn't to convict in every case, it's to do justice," Aronberg said.." It's to make sure the guilty are prosecuted and the innocent are not."

Earlier this week, McAuliffe's decision shook the political landscape.

"This is a deeply personal decision," he said.  "Family makes all the difference in the end," he said. "You do what's in your best interests and the interests of your family."

McAuliffe, who was elected in 2008, said he was proud of his efforts to crack down on gangs, drugs and corruption.

But he faced criticism after he dropped charges against two West Palm Beach police officers in a high-profile beating case.

He was also criticized for sparing Paul Michael Merhige the death penalty after Merhige was convicted of murdering four of his relatives in 2009.

McAuliffe will join West Palm Beach-based Oxbow Carbon as an executive and an attorney.

Sid Dinerstein, chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, told NewsChannel 5 it was unclear if a Palm Beach County Republican would challenge Aronberg.

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