Central Florida Sheriffs slam ‘anti-police’ Andrew Gillum, back Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis

A group of Republican Sheriffs from Central Florida endorsed Republican Ron DeSantis for Governor on Tuesday, spotlighting the alleged “anti-police” radicalism of Democrat Andrew Gillum in the bargain.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd distilled the pro-DeSantis case neatly: “When I looked at this election, I asked myself a simple question that every voter should ask themselves: Do you want a governor who is a decorated veteran and former prosecutor, or a governor who ignored pleas from police for more support and more officers while crime skyrocketed in his city?”

Seminole Sheriff Dennis Lemma echoed these themes: “Andrew Gillum’s Tallahassee has become the most dangerous city in Florida four-years in a row, that’s not the kind of record that deserves a promotion. His anti-law enforcement way of thinking has made it more dangerous for the people of Tallahassee.”

The Gillum camp disputes that characterization, a Republican staple. Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil, a Democrat, noted that “violent crime is down 24 percent, and overall crime is down 10 percent with crime at a five-year low in Tallahassee.”

Brevard’s head lawman, Sheriff Wayne Ivey, said, “When I found out that Andrew Gillum pledged his allegiance to the ‘Freedom Papers,’ an anti-police manifesto from the Dream Defenders organization, I was appalled.

“I am tired of this rhetoric that demonizes our law enforcement officers. It makes the jobs of our deputies harder and more dangerous,” Ivey lamented.

(Worth noting: The Freedom Papers case extends beyond the police, with such insights as “billionaires use Florida as a playground because 20 million of us live on little to nothing.” The DeSantis campaign has already spotlighted the Dream Defenders in advertising.)

The other Sheriffs endorsing the candidate include: Carmine Marceno (Lee), Sheriff Al Nienhuis (Hernando), Sheriff Bill Farmer (Sumter), Sheriff Arnold Lanier (Hardee), Sheriff Steve Whidden (Hendry), Sheriff Wayne Padgett (Taylor), Sheriff Rick Staly (Flagler), and Sheriff Billy Woods (Marion).

Ahead of the primary, Adam Putnam was the runaway choice of most Sheriffs and police unions. Since late August, however, their support has largely (with the exception of a handful of Democratic Sheriffs) fallen in behind DeSantis.

For his part, DeSantis sounded like Gov. Rick Scott when accepting the lawman backing.

 “I am proud to have the support of this group of Florida’s finest here today, along with the support of law enforcement officers from across this state. There is nothing more fundamental to the job of the next governor than ensuring safety for our residents and our visitors. And as I stand here today, I stand where I will as governor, next to our law enforcement and in support of them,” DeSantis vowed.

“Crime is currently at a 47-year low thanks to these Sheriffs and the work of law enforcement officers from across the state who are on the front lines. However, they don’t just need our praise, they need support, they need resources, and they need a governor who will stand alongside them at every turn. So, while I am honored to have their support, I want to take this opportunity to restate my commitment to them and to ensuring Florida has the safest, most well-enforced communities in the country,” DeSantis added.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ben Poitevent

    October 17, 2018 at 10:28 am

    DeSantis should have closed with, except Tallahassee

    • Jeff

      October 19, 2018 at 9:00 am

      I agree…😎

  • rich

    October 19, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Once cannabis is FINALLY legal, these sheriffs can concentrate on fighting violent crime.

  • Fred

    October 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    More tanks !! 😩

  • Mary

    October 20, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    As a grandmother, I want my grandkids safe & I want them to have a good education, not a tainted education, one that teaches respect, dignity & confidence! No Common Core anymore!

    • Jimmy

      October 20, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      No no no to De Santos we need to defund Statewide every police force there is including the Sheriff’s Department#do away with gestapo law enforcement

    • James

      October 20, 2018 at 8:43 pm

      Vote for DeSantis and Scott and Mast. Keep America Great!

      • june

        October 20, 2018 at 9:46 pm

        Except Floridians don’t know what’s socialism, for they to vote otherwise will vote RED

    • Mark

      October 22, 2018 at 8:43 am

      Those are attributes that should be taught at home. School is for “Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.”

  • Barry Amar

    October 20, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Vote for someone who doesn’t support the corrupt Trump! Gillum is the smart choice!

    • Michael Sherry

      October 20, 2018 at 9:31 pm

      Do you live in Tallahassee?

      • Sally

        October 21, 2018 at 6:32 pm

        My daughter is at FSU. Tallahassee is no worse than its ever been.

    • Rhonda

      October 20, 2018 at 9:50 pm

      Absolutely NOT!

    • Georgeann

      October 21, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Get ready to start paying state income tax and a jump in sales tax…Want secure boarders or open? How about socialist policies? More Government control over personal decisions? Trump may be a horses ass, but he’s getting things done. I really believe he understands the ongoing assault on our democracy and, in his own unique way(distasteful as many citizens may find) he is calling the politicians out, and posing a threat to their very lucrative and underhanded manner of “business as usual”. Do some research or just google the candidates’ stand on these issues, and try to keep emotion out of it. Wishing you good luck and Have a great day!

      • Sally

        October 21, 2018 at 6:35 pm

        Can’t start income tax without constitutional amendment. The only “boarders” we have are with Georgia and Alabama. So what the hell are you talking about??

  • Pingu

    October 20, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Noot noot

  • Dave

    October 20, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    The Desantis campaign is run on lies. The crime figures encompass all of the county in which Tallahassee is located. Out side the Mayor’s jurisdiction!

  • Liz

    October 20, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    DeSantis is a disgusting human being, and has an A+ rating from the NRA. He doesn’t care about the kids that died at Parkland or any other mass shooting victims.

    • Mick

      October 21, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      More socialist lies

  • Bea Corbo

    October 20, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Desantos and Scott all the way.
    Continue with the Trump agenda

    • Rose

      October 21, 2018 at 8:21 am

      President Trump is the best thing to have happened, don’t be blinded by the corruption of the socialist party, “Demorats”

  • Michael Sherry

    October 20, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Do you live in Tallahassee?

  • Rmo

    October 21, 2018 at 12:15 am

    Trump is a dumb a$$ but you need to vote for desantais and Scott because mr Andrew is a red card carrying communist And will ruin this state for everyone especially the dirt poor blacks and whites and Scott has done a good job with the hurricane and bill Nelson is a lazy ass senator that does nothing and this is all coming from a true Democrat but a real Democrat bill Clinton tipper O’Neal Democrat when we worked with the other side and made human decisions To keep this county great because it has always been great president dumb ass I will never vote for pussy grabber trump

  • Mark Khaleel

    October 21, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    The dems gave us Trump because we were desperate after Obama for anything better. He may not have been our best choice but he has done everything in the way of campaign promises so far with more to come. Those still stuck on stupid voting demoncrat, shame on you. Do your own research, think for yourselves and stop being indoctrinated by leftist America haters that want to change our way of life. And every time Inhear someone say something negative about the NRA, I know they’re just repeating ridiculous talking points from the dumbass media. Vote Repub up and down the ticket. God bless America

  • Rmo

    October 23, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Go rick Scott and that’s coming from a pissed of Democrat

Comments are closed.


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