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FCC Recap: Angela Corey Challenger Wes White Running To 'Restore Public Trust'

The man hoping to unseat Jacksonville-based State Attorney Angela Corey says he's doing it to restore public confidence in the leadership of Florida's Fourth Circuit.

"Prosecutors have to work in the court of public opinion as well as the courtroom," says challenger Wes White.

"And right now the state attorney's office has failed largely in the court of public opinion," White said Monday on "First Coast Connect." He continued, "What we need to do is bring back trust in that office. And we need to address the rise in violent crime in Jacksonville."

White, a 58-year-old former prosecutor who ran the Nassau County office during Corey's first term, is a Republican who filed early in the 2016 contest as a way of introducing himself to voters before a formal announcement later this year.

He left his post in 2012 after what he called "disagreements" with Corey over the direction of the office.

"Her office is tough on crime, but we're still not doing the job. Violent crime and murders are going up in Jacksonville. And the public confidence in the state attorney's office has fallen precipitously over the years Ms. Corey has been in office. I'm not here to bash Ms. Corey. But I think we need a change," he said.

A recent poll conducted by the UNF Public Opinion Research Laboratory found 51 percent of Duval County voters disapprove of the job Corey is doing as the region's top prosecutor.

Corey has presided over several high-profile and controversial cases, including the trials of George ZimmermanMichael Dunnand Marissa Alexander.

In an statement her office released, Corey said, "I am not concerned by this unscientific poll. The true measure of how this office is doing is evident every single day with the feedback we get from victims, law enforcement and members of our community from all three counties in the Fourth Judicial Circuit, which include not just Duval County, but also Clay and Nassau counties.  I look forward to seeking re-election in 2016 and continuing to protect the citizens of the Fourth Judicial Circuit."

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.