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Michelle Cook launches bid for Clay County Sheriff

Atlantic Beach police chief looks to make leap.

Atlantic Beach Police Chief Michelle Cook, previously of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, filed Wednesday to run for Sheriff in Clay County.

We were first to report, back in October, that this was a distinct possibility.

Cook joins a crowded field on the 2020 ballot, as incumbent Darryl Daniels has yet to indicate whether he will stand for reelection.

Daniels, facing an FDLE investigation over abuse of power allegations spanning two counties, has not opened a reelection campaign account.

Cook, who has family in Clay County and deep ties in Duval, will enter a race where no candidate has particularly eye-popping fundraising.

The leading fundraiser at the moment: Mike Taylor, raised $64,000 ($25,000 self-financed) in his first month in the race. But Taylor has raised just over $14,000 since, including an anemic $300 December. He isn’t spending much yet.

Ben Carroll, a veteran of the Clay Sheriff’s Office and a former Police Chief, has raised just over $45,000 as of the end of November … but has burned through over $35,000 of that, with expenditures including a $6,000 “banquet” in October.

Harold Rutledge, a former sergeant with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Clay County Commissioner, currently is executive director for the Florida Public Service Association.

Rutledge has raised just over $22,000, but $1,290 was all in his last three months of reports. December has yet to be filed at this writing.

Catherine Webb has filed also; she has raised $1,850 so far.

The Cook contrast with Daniels would be an interesting campaign narrative, should the Sheriff file for reelection. The newcomer enters a field where no candidate seems to have momentum.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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