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Andrew Warren has dire warnings about democracy in Florida

Andrew Warren, left, and Ron DeSantis standing at podiums
Chris O'Meara
This combination of photos shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, right, and Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, left, in Tampa after DeSantis suspended Warren. Warren vowed to fight his suspension over his promise not to enforce the state's 15-week abortion ban and support for gender transition treatments for minors.

Warren told the Longboat Key Democratic Club that if he loses his federal appeal of his suspension as Hillsborough state attorney, Gov. Ron DeSantis can replace any politician he wants.

Former Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren had harsh words Tuesday about what he thinks is the importance of the court challenge of his suspension by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Speaking via Zoom with the Longboat Key Democratic Club, Warren pointed out that a state court has found he was unconstitutionally suspended under both state and federal law but said it did not have the power to reinstate.

Now, the issue is before a federal court. And, Warren said, losing would embolden DeSantis to go even further.

"If we lose, this will potentially render elections across the state of Florida meaningless," said Warren, "because it means that the governor can just suspend from office, whoever he wants, for whatever reason he wants, whenever he wants."

Before he was suspended, Warren had signed a pledge not to prosecute people seeking or providing abortion under the state's new abortion law. DeSantis said Warren was suspended for neglect of duty.

Warren told the Democratic Club that DeSantis' attorneys admitted in court arguments that he was suspended for making discretionary decisions with which DeSantis disagreed.

Warren said that if the federal court does not reinstate him, DeSantis could suspend any politician for any action with which he disagrees, including votes on legislation.

"The governor in his mind could suspend every single elected representative who's a Democrat saying you voted against that bill, you exercise your discretion in a way that I disagree with. So I'm suspending you from office. That's what's at stake," Warren said.

Arguments in Warren's federal case against his suspension were heard May 3 in Alabama.

I started my journalism career delivering the Toledo Blade newspaper on my bike.
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