Clearly, Republican Executive Committee member Jimmy Holderfield and the Republican Party of Duval County differ on the value of a loyalty oath.
A day after Holderfield’s cross-party endorsement of Democrat Ken Jefferson for sheriff, Duval GOP Chair Robin Lumb issued a statement on Friday decrying Holderfield breaking the party’s loyalty oath.
“We are profoundly disappointed with Republican Jimmy Holderfield’s decision to endorse Democrat Ken Jefferson,” Lumb said. “In doing so he’s overlooked the only candidate in the race who’s actually qualified to serve as Jacksonville’s next sheriff — Mike Williams.”
Lumb contends that “Mr. Holderfield, as a member of the Republican Executive Committee, has violated the loyalty oath signed over a year ago in which he pledged not to ‘actively, publicly, or financially support the election of any candidate other than the Republican candidate’ in any election for public office.”
The statement reiterates claims about Williams’ résumé, which is heavy with leadership and administrative experience, and compares it with that of Jefferson, who “has never held a position higher than Patrolman during his term of employment with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.”
“I’ve never seen a race where there are so many bright-line differences in terms of qualifications,” Lumb said in the prepared statement. “When voters compare the two candidates there’s no doubt that Mike Williams will come out on top. The Republican Party is proud that Mike Williams is the party’s nominee for Duval County Sheriff and we look for to his service as Jacksonville’s top law enforcement officer.”
Even as the counter-messaging to Holderfield’s endorsement of the Democrat persists, there’s talk about a possible quid pro quo offer Jefferson made in exchange for Holderfield’s repudiation of his GOP identity.
The unconfirmed reports speculate Holderfield would be in line to be Jefferson’s undersheriff, which would help the Democrat overcome his lack of administrative experience with the addition of a proven hand clearly loyal to him.
On Thursday at the endorsement event, Jefferson denied that any offer, express or implied, had been made to the 35-year JSO vet for his endorsement.
An attempt to contact Holderfield on Friday for comment about the claim of a quid pro quo was unsuccessful.