Democratic challenger Jeremy Ring, in his bid to unseat Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, tore into the Cabinet member for posing allegedly racist questions during a clemency hearing in June.

But Patronis’ re-election campaign dismissed the criticism as name-calling and signs of desperate campaigning by his opposition.

A number of Democratic officials statewide called into question Patronis’ judgment during a June 14 hearing for Erwin Jones, an applicant seeking clemency, about how many children he had and how many mothers there were to those children.

Former state Sen. Ring, a Coral Springs Democrat, issued a letter to supporters labeling the remarks as “intolerance and ignorance” while demanding Patronis recuse himself from clemency hearings in the future. “It is unconscionable that applicants would be asked in a public hearing how many children and how many different mothers of those children,” Ring said. “Not only should that have zero to do with Mr. Jones ability to have his rights restored, but smacks of racism, intolerance and ignorance.”

Additionally, Democratic state Rep. Sean Shaw of Tampa, a candidate for Attorney General, said Patronis’ line of questions sounded “racially biased.”

“If having a child by more than one or

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