1986 Florida Attorney General election

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Bob Butterworth.jpg
Nominee Bob Butterworth Jim Watt
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 1,900,890 1,341,090
Percentage 58.6% 41.4%

Attorney General before election

James C. Smith

Elected Attorney General

Bob Butterworth

The 1986 Florida Attorney General election was held on November 4, 1986. Bob Butterworth would be elected defeating Jim Watt with 58.63% of the vote. Incumbent James C. Smith would not run in this election.[1]

Primary election

Primary elections were held on September 2, 1986.[1]

Democratic primary

The positions for Walt Dartland are known. Dartland would say while running for Attorney General that he was opposed to the death penalty, giving the juries the option of recommending life sentences without parole instead of the death penalty. He would also uniquely offer a money-back guarantee for anyone who made a donation under $100 and was unsatisfied with his performance when he became attorney general would give a refund.[2]



Democratic Primary – September 2, 1986[5]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ed M. Dunn, Jr. 315,897 34.1%'
Democratic Bob Butterworth 301,192 32.5%
Democratic Joe Gersten 231,171 25.0%
Democratic Walt Dartland 77,758 8.4%
Total votes 926,018 100

Republican primary

Watt would be in favor of: giving tougher penalties to those who were crack cocaine dealers, give more power to the attorney general for fighting consumer fraud especially for the elderly, limiting the amount of appeals death row inmates can make, increase the federal government's commitments to intersect drug smugglers, giving state cabinet members two terms while he would be against gambling in casinos.[6]



Republican Primary – September 2, 1986[8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jim Watt 346,429 73.2%
Republican C. Lavon Ward 126,782 26.8%
Total votes 473,211 100

General election


Bob Butterworth, Democratic

Jim Watt, Republican


1986 Florida Attorney General election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Bob Butterworth 1,900,890 58.63%
Republican Jim Watt 1,341,090 41.37%
Democratic hold Swing


  1. ^ a b "Florida Department of State - Election Results". results.elections.myflorida.com. Retrieved 2021-07-23.
  2. ^ a b Straight, Harry (March 5, 1986). "CONSUMER ADVOCATE WANTS TOP LAW JOB". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  3. ^ "EDGAR DUNN JR. LIVED TO SERVE". Orlando Sentinel. June 21, 2000. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  4. ^ Cotterell, Bill (March 2, 2018). "'A champion for consumers and underdogs': Walt Dartland dies at 83". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  5. ^ "September 2, 1986 Primary Election: Democratic Primary". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Archived from the original on 2017-01-31. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "WATT RECOMMMENDED AS NOMINEE IN GOP ATTORNEY GENERAL'S RACE". Sun-Sentinel. August 23, 1986. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  7. ^ Nolin, Robert (September 18, 2009). "Ex-judge, legislator C. Lavon Ward dies". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  8. ^ "September 2, 1986 Primary Election: Republican Primary". Florida Department of State Division of Elections. Archived from the original on 2017-01-31. Retrieved January 3, 2022.