Former Palm Beach County State Attorney Michael McAuliffe, who left office to take a private sector job before completing his term in 2012, is seeking a return to public office as a circuit judge.
McAuliffe announced Tuesday he’s running for the Group 13 seat held by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge David French. French does not plan to seek re-election in 2018, his office confirmed.
McAuliffe’s wife is U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg, who was nominated to the federal bench by former President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2014. Rosenberg was elected to the Circuit Court without opposition in 2006 and served there until her elevation to the federal judgeship.
McAuliffe was elected state attorney as a Democrat in 2008 and opened a 2012 re-election campaign in 2011.
But in January 2012, amid expectations that former state Sen. Dave Aronberg would challenge McAuliffe in a Democratic primary, McAuliffe announced he would not seek re-election and would take a job with West Palm Beach-based Oxbow Carbon, an energy company headed by Palm Beach billionaire Bill Koch.
A few days later, McAuliffe announced that he would leave office before completing his term. He told staff that “understandably the company I will join wants and needs me before January 2013. As a result, I will not be able to complete my full term of office.”
Aronberg was elected state attorney in 2012, then was re-elected without opposition in 2016.
McAuliffe resigned as Oxbow’s secretary and general counsel in 2016. He has been doing some consulting and recently joined a West Palm Beach law firm, McAuliffe consultant Rick Asnani said.
“Public service has always been an important part of my life. I wish to continue to serve the residents of Palm Beach County and that is why I have decided to run for Circuit Judge, Group 13,” McAuliffe said in a release by his campaign.