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Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels.


FDLE investigation doesn’t faze Clay County voters in Sheriff race, poll says

Darryl Daniels has a nearly 30 point advantage over his nearest opponent.

Despite a crowded field of challengers, a new poll reveals Clay County voters want to re-elect their embattled Sheriff.

A survey from St. Pete Polls commissioned by the Darryl Daniels re-election campaign shows the first-term Republican with strong approval numbers.

The media release trumpets the topline: “The poll conducted in mid-March by St. Pete Polls and Slover Consulting show that a strong majority, over 61%, of likely voters, approve of the job that the Sheriff is doing.

“When asked who you would vote for, Sheriff Daniels wins by nearly 30 points over his nearest opponent. In addition, Clay County voters by nearly a 4 to 1 margin said that they want to elect a Sheriff for Clay County that actually lives in Clay County.”

The decision to release polling from weeks ago is always an interesting one for a campaign to make.

Daniels, facing a nearly year-old FDLE investigation over abuse of power allegations spanning two counties, recently filed for re-election, amidst speculation about his political vulnerability.

Still, the poll numbers are encouraging.

In a ballot test of the entire field, Daniels is the choice of 44% surveyed, with Atlantic Beach Police Chief Michelle Cook at 14% and the rest of the field in single digits.

Daniels and Cook are both alumnae of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The leading fundraiser at the moment, Mike Taylor, has raised $100,000 and has spent $23,000.

Cook has raised more than $81,000, and has nearly $57,000 on hand.

Both are well-ahead of the incumbent, who reported raising $26,000 through February.

The rest of the field is characterized by slower fundraising, a faster burn rate, or a combination thereof.

Ben Carroll, a veteran of the Clay Sheriff’s Office and a former Police Chief, has raised just over $54,000 as of the end of November, but has less than $8,000 on hand.

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 $24,000, with roughly $13,000 on hand.

Catherine Webb is also running. She has raised $10,375 so far, and retains more than $8,000 of those funds.

Written By

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

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