- Suspended Hillsborough state attorney Andrew Warren has opened a campaign account, signaling a potential return to seeking higher office or resuming his elected role.
- This move suggests Warren’s potential interest in seeking higher office or returning to his elected role, though no specific plans have been announced.
- An advisor to Warren stated that the filing was made in order to adhere to state statutes.
Representatives for suspended Hillsborough state attorney Andrew Warren informed The Capitolist on Tuesday that the twice-elected lawyer opened a campaign account earlier this week.
While Maya Brown, an advisor to Warren, was scant with details in a memo sent to the media, it was disclosed that Warren filed paperwork earlier this week in order to adhere to state statute and potentially open himself to seeking higher office or a return to his elected role as state attorney.
“Andrew filed the paperwork yesterday to open a campaign account,” reads an email sent by Warren’s spokesperson Grayson Kamm on behalf of Brown. “This allows him to stay in legal compliance with state law and keep multiple options on the table as he determines his next steps.”
Warren’s suspension has been highly politicized and seen as a flagship moment of action for Gov. Ron DeSantis, who directly referenced his removal of Warren and similarly suspended prosecutor Monique Worrell during the most recent Republican primary debate. Despite this, no indication of an intention to seek election was given by Warren or his team, though insinuated that a decision of some sort is imminent.
“With the national politics and statewide scrutiny the governor has injected into this local race, we’re being very methodical to show we’re following the law. We have nothing to announce at this point; once Andrew arrives at a decision, we will definitely let everyone know,” the memo concluded.
In a September 2022 interview with Warren, The Capitolist inquired about potential future runs for office, which Warren dismissed, electing to focus on the political shockwaves of his suspension.
During the interview, Warren criticized the timing of his suspension, suggesting that it was predicated on what he referred to as DeSantis’s political ambition to run for president.
“The Governor has made clear that he is focused not on the needs of Floridians, not on the safety of our communities … but on running for President in 2024,” Warren said. “That’s what this is about. A political stunt to further his political ambition.”
In August 2022, DeSantis accused Warren of incompetence and abandonment of duty when he was dismissed from office via Executive Order. Notably, the governor claimed that Warren pledged not to enforce the state’s recently passed abortion law, as well as signing letters stating that he would not enforce laws prohibiting sex changes for minors.
In January, a federal lawsuit seeking to reappoint Warren to his role was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle. In issuing the order, however, Hinkle noted that DeSantis violated Warren’s First Amendment rights, but that he was unable to preside over the case due to the 11th Amendment of the Constitution, which states that the Judicial power of the United States can’t extend to any suit dealing with state law.
“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended elected State Attorney Andrew H. Warren, ostensibly on the ground that Mr. Warren had blanket policies not to prosecute certain kinds of cases,” wrote Hinkle in his order. “The allegation was false. Mr. Warren’s well-established policy, followed in every case by every prosecutor in the office, was to exercise prosecutorial discretion at every stage of every case. Any reasonable investigation would have confirmed this.”
Following an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court, Warren’s case was dismissed after the justices cited an “unreasonable delay.”
The Court noted that Warren had filed a lawsuit in federal court shortly after his suspension, seeking a writ of quo warranto (a legal action to challenge someone’s right to hold office) based on the claim that the suspension order was insufficient under Florida law. However, when the federal court dismissed the challenge, Warren waited close to five months before filing the petition with the state Supreme Court, with Justices claiming they were not provided with any explanation for the delay. The court concluded that, considering the circumstances, it was too late for them to review the case.
“[Warren] waited almost five months before finally petitioning this Court and requesting our “expeditious review” of his state-law claim”, wrote Justice Charles Canady in his written opinion. ” [The] Petitioner offers no explanation for the delay. We conclude that, under the circumstances of this case, the time for our review has passed.”
The opinion further explained that the power to suspend state officers, like Warren, is granted to the Governor under Article IV, Section 7 of the Florida Constitution, further elucidating that while the courts have a limited role in reviewing suspension orders, the primary check on the Governor’s actions is the Senate, which has the power to remove or reinstate suspended officials.