Ron DeSantis, Sheriffs hammer Andrew Gillum’s Dream Defenders ties

Ron DeSantis cops

Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis took a page from the book of his dispatched primary rival Tuesday, with an early morning Jacksonville presser designed to highlight support from law enforcement.

Worth noting: Jacksonville is dealing with a continued multiyear upward trend in its murder rate, a similar phenomenon to the depictions of crime-ridden Tallahassee in Republican ads. High-profile mass shootings are becoming the norm here, including recent gunplay at a high school football game, a video game competition, and the shooting of six people within walking distance of the Jaguars’ game last Sunday.

Included at the event: Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, who attended DeSantis’ Sunday night debate in Tampa (Gillum “didn’t do anything tonight to calm the nerves of people rightfully concerned about public safety under his failed leadership,” Williams chided); and Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels, who questioned Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum “as a man” for signing the Dream Defenders pledge earlier this year.

The DeSantis campaign has sought to capitalize on Gillum’s signing of the Dream Defenders pledge (which Gillum claimed not to have signed in Sunday’s debate), and Tuesday was probably the most prominent push, with ad-ready footage from Republican sheriffs delineating what they see as stark differences between the candidates.

Sheriff Mike Prendergast of Citrus County noted that DeSantis “will not tolerate … racist hate groups who don’t support law enforcement officers.”

Sheriff Bobby Schultz of Gilchrist County echoed those thoughts, saying DeSantis “will not slap the face of law enforcement by supporting hate groups that do nothing but demonize law enforcement.”

Perhaps the bluntest Sheriff speaking, Gordon Smith of Bradford County, noted “you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken pocky,” referring to Gillum, who has “made a mess out of Tallahassee.”

Sheriff Daniels was more restrained Tuesday than he was in his Twitter endorsement of DeSantis, but took a more personal tack than some of the other officers, mocking Gillum’s invoking of his grandmother during speeches.

“Everything that’s shiny ain’t gold,” Daniels said, urging people to “research” Gillum.

DeSantis, per Daniels, is “somebody who understands the dynamic of protect and serve.”

“He’s my brother,” Daniels said, offering an “open and heartfelt endorsement.”

Sheriff Mike Williams made a more utilitarian case.

“We need support from Tallahassee,” Williams said. “Need to know the resources are still available” for law enforcement.

DeSantis, who had very few Sheriffs backing him against Adam Putnam, presented as the champion of law enforcement, the last bulwark against Gillum’s Californication of the state.

The candidate noted “the overwhelming support of law enforcement,” which hasn’t been “seen in recent times.”

“Such an overwhelming base of support for one candidate over the other,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis reprised his points against the “radical group” Dream Defenders with their “disgusting and ridiculous manifesto.”

This, a highlight of his Sunday debate performance, would be familiar, as he incredulously quoted passages like “police and prisons have no place in justice” and “defunding law enforcement and putting money into welfare programs.”

“I’m not going to go down that road,” DeSantis pledged.

Back before the primary, we asked Gillum about his third-party backing, and whether it would interfere with his messaging.

“I try to be my own best messenger,” Gillum said, “and hope that they can pick up from kind of where I leave off, and frankly create ads and advertisements that use my voice and get my voice out there.”

“Obviously we don’t get to control what everyone else does. I’m learning more and more about what everybody’s doing as I read the news,” Gillum added.

“For the part that we can control,” Gillum added, “we are building really strong momentum around the state of Florida.”

A.G. Gancarski

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


  • Ray Tampa

    October 23, 2018 at 10:10 am

    All of these sheriffs who willy-nilly line up next to or behind a political candidate with KNOWN ties to White Nationalists need to understand the damage they are doing to their personal and professional reputations. Their departments are negatively impacted too.

    Many of these same sheriffs strongly supported Adam Putnam (as sorry as he is) and didn’t think much of DeSantis at all. Now, they pretend he is the best thing since sliced bread. Where is their integrity? How can citizens TRUST them? Do they care at all about their diminished credibility?

    My attitude toward these so-called lawmen is ‘to hell with ’em’.

    • Rico Suave

      October 25, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      What known ties White Nationalists? THATS ALL YOU LIBERAL DEGENERATES HAVE IS TO PLAY THE RACE CARD AND NOW WHITE SUPREMACY OR NATIONALISTS BS. You are a complete moron and know Gillum is an extreme left corrupt loser. BOTTOMLINE.

    • Carol Brandt

      October 25, 2018 at 11:38 pm

      Goofball. Mark Levin spoke with DeSantis today, and pointed out he was the most outspoken person in Congress trying to get recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Since when did white nationalists love Jews? 😜

    • Daryl E. Ratterree

      October 26, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      That was probably your attitude before about Law Enforcement, so the majority of Law Abiding Citizens really don’t want to hear your Crap. Especially when it comes to your posting about lining up behind White Nationalist.

  • Bob Harley

    October 23, 2018 at 10:26 am

    This only made me feel more secure in my vote for Gillum.

    A bunch of backwoods Republican sheriffs speaking out against an African-American candidate in favor of a White Nationalist? Not exactly headline worthy.

    Of course, Daniels is an absolute disgrace. And isn’t he the same fella who went out and brought Angela Corey back into government?

    To be frank, few states give sheriffs as much political power as Florida does, and these sheriffs often spend taxpayer money any way they choose, with very little input or oversight from county commissions, let alone the State. These guys are probably fearful that their pet spending projects could see a decrease in taxpayer money flowing from Tallahassee more than anything else.

    • Timberlake

      October 23, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      Backwoods sheriffs?

      You must be “inner city” huh?

      • Bob Harley

        October 23, 2018 at 2:24 pm

        There you go again, showing your klan robe.

        What I “am” is an American, one who has traveled extensively, obtained multiple degrees and certifications, and who has actually worked in local and state government.

        Sorry you can’t see the world beyond the roof on your next door neighbor’s trailer, but there’s a lot more to life than hunting for deer.

        • Rico Sauve

          October 25, 2018 at 10:00 pm

          GFY Liberal degenerate communist POS


        • Rico Suave

          October 25, 2018 at 10:09 pm


        • Carol Brandt

          October 25, 2018 at 11:47 pm

          Race card! Race card! So do you know DeSantis’ running mate? Yeah, he’s some racist! 😂🤣😁😉

          Mayor of a crime-ridden city…. caught taking bribes!

          And “Medicare for all”! When called out in the debate Andy knew nothing about it, LOL! Good luck with the retirees, Andy!! 😚

    • bluebronco

      October 30, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      So Harley, you gotta vote for Dirty Andy because he is African American? Even if he is a Chavez/Maduro style socialist and anti-police not to mention the obvious corruption. If you live anywhere near Tally, you know he is corrupt.

  • Cathy

    October 23, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Racially motivated scare tactics. Its sad but certainly expected. Its Susie Wiles in charge, after all.

    I’d be more interested in these cops explaining their views on mass incarceration. While they are out locking every thing that moves up, jails are filled with people who drove on a suspended license or violated probation for writing a bad check.

    Florida needs to reform the way its criminal justice system works because the state’s economy can’t sustain incarcerating, feeding, and treating hundreds of thousands of inmates across the state.

    GOP sheriffs have no intention of leading in this area, or speaking about it in a pragmatic way.

    Gillum understands the need to keep people safe while making the system work more efficiently.

    Gillum has my vote.

    • Rico Suave

      October 25, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      Their in jail because they break laws you stupid idiot. Hopefully you are next so you can then complain why these criminals are not in jail.

    • Carol Brandt

      October 25, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      I agree “the state’s economy can’t sustain incarcerating, feeding, and treating hundreds of thousands of inmates across the state.” Let ’em starve.

    • Daryl E. Ratterree

      October 26, 2018 at 9:29 pm

      Break The Law- Go to Jail! It is that simple, so what don’t you understand?

  • Ray Tampa

    October 23, 2018 at 10:48 am

    The rank and file police officers and sheriff deputies, in general, try their best to uphold their pledge – to protect and serve. They are out in the streets dealing with the things that matter the most to the residents.

    On the other hand, the sheriffs are playing politics and playing poorly. For this reason the rank and file lawmen tend to vote a different direction than their pathetic bosses.

    • Bob Harley

      October 23, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      The sheriffs have bigger responsibilities than playing FOX News political pundits.

      Maybe they should focus on what they’ve been elected to do instead, and leave the politics to the talking heads on TV.

      • Rico Suave

        October 25, 2018 at 10:03 pm


        • Carol Brandt

          October 25, 2018 at 11:50 pm

          Yup, Rico.

  • Marion

    October 23, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    No Timberlake, Bob Harley is likely from Pennsylvania or some other failed socialist hell hole near there, that’s likely why he moved here.

  • Ray Tampa

    October 24, 2018 at 12:17 am

    From this point on, any political candidate with a large gathering of sheriffs as supporters will not get my vote. The sheriffs back Trump, Scott and DeSantis. This represents stupidity and poor judgement.

    • Rico Suave

      October 25, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      MAGA MF ALL DAY EVERYDAY. Keep melting down we love watching you liberals implode.

      • Carol Brandt

        October 25, 2018 at 11:52 pm

        ‘Tis a lovely sight to behold!

  • Kim Rodriguez

    October 28, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    I just love how everyone who says Gillum has my vote forgets he is still under investigation by the FBI! Why would you vote for someone who is clearly not as picture perfect as he wants you to think? His town is a hell hole these days, and he has done nothing about it. But, he wants to be Governor? Why? So he can have more power, and probably take better bribes, and make FL a worse place to live? Yeah… That sounds perfect… 🙄

  • Tampa Greg

    November 1, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Rico, Carol, Marion: sad to see that you’re still affected by Darth Cheeto’s kool aid. Desantis has his nose so far up the Orange One’s behind it is not funny.

    What has the GOP done for you ? Raise your taxes (unless you’re ultra-rich)? Do you have or know anyone with a preexisting medical condition ? Desantis voted FOR both. The only Republican who had the guts to say NO was the late, great Sen. John McCain.

    You support racial profiling from police? Carol, “let them starve”? Do you know who else did these things? The Schutzstaffel. I know I’m pulling a Godwin, but, if you dislike the Nazi comparison, don’t act like them. See? Simple.

    FBI investigation ? Don’t just believe a Desantis ad. Do some research for yourselves. How about these:

    Gillum said it best: “I’m not calling you a racist, I’m saying the racists think you’re a racist.

    • M Meyer

      November 1, 2018 at 7:47 pm

      what I don’t believe is either party’s rhetoric. The lying on both side is so rampant it is impossible to determine what is truth and what is fiction. That being said, I will vote for De Santis as I consider him the lesser of the 2 evils.

Comments are closed.


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