Florida Keys News
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Vogel: 'I will bring fresh ideas to the State Attorney's office'

Former Monroe County Assistant State Attorney Catherine Vogel landed 56 percent of the vote, bettering her former boss in the race to become the next top prosecutor in the Keys.

"The first thing I'm going to do is take a look at the backlogged case load and see what we can do about it," Vogel said as she was leaving the Harvey Government Center en route to Camille's Restaurant Tuesday night.

The race between Democrat Vogel and Republican candidate and former Monroe County State Attorney Mark Kohl -- her boss before he was beaten by current State Attorney Dennis Ward in 2008 -- was noticeably calmer than the primary race.

Ward and Vogel repeatedly traded barbs in what was a hotly contested primary race, but Vogel and Kohl appeared happy to share the limelight in the general election race as neither went out of their way to pinpoint each other's negatives.

Vogel, a native of Miami who once worked with Janet Reno in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office until she became Chief Assistant State Attorney in Monroe County in 2001, politicked as a professional prosecutor who would eschew politics in the day-to-day operations of the office -- a point she routinely criticized Ward for during the primary race.

Vogel and Kohl spent more time trashing Ward than each other on the campaign trail in political forums that sometimes left attendees wondering if there was any political difference separating the candidates.

She also campaigned on the claim that she will bring "fresh ideas" to the office and trumpeted her leadership skills over her former boss.

On the campaign trail, Vogel repeatedly denied working with Kohl to oust Ward and that the two were in cahoots in any way.

The suggestion led Ward and his supporters to speculate during the primary that should Vogel win, she would be offering Kohl a job in the office and vice versa.

"I will always do what is best for Monroe County should a position become available," Vogel said when asked Tuesday night if she will hire Kohl come January. "I'm not going in with plans to fire anyone, so we will see what happens and what comes up."

Kohl perhaps saw the writing on the wall late Tuesday afternoon as he was already on the road removing campaign signs, promising to have them all removed before Wednesday morning.

"My plans are to get the rest of my signs down tonight," Kohl said. "I'm saddened by the results, but it's not the end of the world."

Kohl said he would be open to working for Vogel if a position came open.

"I'm a career prosecutor and I love doing the prosecution side," Kohl said. "It's unfortunate it was interrupted."

alinhardt@keysnes.com

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