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Orange County Sheriff election set for November with three candidates

There will be no primaries in the Orange County Sheriff’s election this year as only one partisan candidate, Darryl Sheppard, qualified for the ballot while Jose “Joe” Lopez switched to run as an independent.

Another Democrat also failed to qualify.

Consequently, Orlando Police Chief John Mina, already running as an independent candidate, will face Lopez and Sheppard in a November election to decide the successor to longtime Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Both Mina and Lopez had registered last year as Democrats, but both did so too late to qualify for this year’s ballot as Democrats. Consequently, Mina initially filed to run as an independent when he first submitted candidate paperwork in February. Lopez initially filed to run as a Democrat in February but changed that in new filings presented this week to run as an independent. There are no Republicans in the partisan election. Republican Thomas Stroup initially entered the race but withdrew.

Mina, retired Florida Highway Patrol Chief Lopez, and Sheppard all qualified for the ballot this week, while former Eatonville Police Chief Eric McIntyre, who’d filed as a Democrat, did not qualify to run when the window closed at noon Friday.

Moneywise, Mina and Lopez started close, but Mina has been raising far more campaign money over the past few months. Through May, Mina raised about $113,000, Lopez about $49,000; Sheppard, $3,000.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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