Rick Scott’s veterans’ agency head Mike Prendergast to run for Citrus County Sheriff
Mike Prendergast, as seen appearing on an episode of Florida NewsMakers. (Photo: YouTube)

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Mike Prendergast, Gov. Rick Scott‘s first chief of staff who moved on to become head of the state’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs, is stepping down to run for Citrus County Sheriff.

He formally announced his plans at Tuesday’s Florida Cabinet meeting. The announcement also was in a news release first shared with FloridaPolitics.com.

Prendergast will run as a Republican. Current Sheriff Jeff Dawsy has decided not to run for re-election.

“My life has been dedicated to service at many levels, including to our state and country,” said Prendergast, a retired Army colonel. “I believe the best way I can continue to serve is by seeking the position of Sheriff of Citrus County.

“I began my military career as a military policeman, and it would be an honor to bring my extensive law enforcement background to a county that is home to so many brave military veterans and other outstanding citizens.”

Prendergast, appointed Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs by Scott and the Cabinet in June 2011, is a native of Tampa and a graduate of Clearwater Central Catholic High School.

According to his bio, he enlisted in the Army in 1978 and attended Military Police training at Fort McClellan in Alabama.

He’s an Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veteran and served in a variety of command and staff positions over the course of his Army career.

“Mike Prendergast is a real-deal American hero, and the kind of man who is dedicated to service on behalf of us all,” said political consultant Ron Sachs, CEO of Sachs Media Group, who is working on Prendergast’s campaign effort. “His law enforcement expertise and unyielding commitment to helping others will make him a great sheriff.”

Prendergast and wife Naomi have two grown children and five grandchildren.


Their son is a military police soldier and a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, according to the bio. Their son-in-law is a flight engineer with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and he recently completed his ninth combat deployment to Afghanistan.

“You’ve done a great job,” Scott told him during the Cabinet meeting. “I wish you the best of luck; we expect you to win.”

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Tom Spellissy

    March 29, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Mike is a great American and wI’ll be an outstanding servant to Citrus County.

  • Tom Spellissy

    March 29, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Mike is a great American and will be an outstanding servant to Citrus County.

  • Michael Daniels

    March 29, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you Mike for your continued dedication to service. You will be an excellent sheriff and Citrus County is very lucky to have you!!! Thank you again for your service! Good luck!

  • Wayne Guest

    March 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Mike is the real deal and would be an asset to the people of Citrus County. His extensive knowledge and overall background would make him a perfect fit for this position. I served with Mike in the Army and know him to be a true leader. I am proud to have known him and call him a dear friend after all of these years. Good Luck in your endeavors for the position of Sheriff.

  • R.V. Sellers

    June 8, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Sorry I couldn’t get to the door in time to see you this P.M. 30 seconds is not enough time for an old timer like me. Would have had to tell you that you were breaking the law by soliciting in a deed restricted community like all the signs leading in announce. Also the deal of hanging the notes on the doors works great unless it is snowbird’s home. Then it just says sits there advertising work for the sheriff’s office. Maybe you are the man for the job, although it seems your training period might be extensive. Good luck.

Comments are closed.


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