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Lawyer Andrew Darling drops from Orange Co. Sheriff’s election

Had run on platform of criminal justice reform in SO

Former public defender Andrew Darling has dropped out of the contest to be elected Orange County Sheriff in 2020, citing fundraising struggles.

Darling, 35, a Democrat, now is in private law practice.

His departure leaves Orange County Sheriff John Mina, who is running for a full four-year term after being elected in 2018 to serve the final two years of Jerry Demings‘ term; retired Florida Highway Patrol Chief Joe Lopez, whom Mina defeated in the 2018 election; and former Eatonville Police Chief Eric McIntyre, who also was in the 2018 campaign but dropped out.

Darling had run for Sheriff on a criminal justice reform campaign, seeking the office to reform the Sheriff’s Office’s policies toward justice reform.

“After a little more than five months I have decided to drop out of the race for Sheriff,” Darling declared in a written statement.

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“I will continue to fight for criminal justice reform. I was unable to raise enough money to continue to run a viable campaign. My campaign was able to bring to the forefront some very important issues and I believe that the other candidates are now forced to talk about the school to prison pipeline, juvenile justice reform, and accountability,” he continued.

Darling said he will seek those goals through his firm, Andrew Darling Law, “and continue to help those most at risk in my community.”

Darling served in the U.S. Army, including two combat deployments to Iraq and a duty assignment as a drill sergeant. After leaving the service in 2011 he decided to pursue a law degree, which he completed at the University of Miami last year. He then worked at the Public Defender’s Office for Florida’s 9th Judicial Circuit, which covers Orange and Osceola counties.

Like Darling, the other three candidates all are Democrats. At this point, the election is set to be decided in the Democratic primary in August.

Mina, the former Orlando Police Chief, was elected in 2018 after Demings was elected Orange County Mayor and resigned as Sheriff.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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