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Pam Bondi, Ashley Moody announce their support for Chad Chronister’s re-election

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s race has become heated in recent days.

Attorney General Ashley Moody and her predecessor, Pam Bondi, both endorsed Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister for reelection.

“As Florida’s top cop, I’ve worked hand-in-hand with Sheriff Chad Chronister on issues like ending human trafficking and the opioid epidemic,” Moody wrote in a statement Friday. “He is focused, professional, and dedicated to keeping Hillsborough County safe. Sheriff Chronister is a true lawman who has proven he is honest, fair and just.”

Chronister faces reelection against former Sheriff’s detective Brian Boswell in the Republican primary. Two Democrats are also running — former Tampa Police officer Gary Pruitt and Ronald McMullen.

Chronister is considered the front-runner but has faced criticism from Boswell and Pruitt, dueling candidates aligned in their desire to oust an incumbent they claim is corrupt.

Moody and Bondi’s endorsements come the same week the two fired back at Chronister after an outside group mailed flyers to voters attacking Boswell over his disciplinary record with the agency.

Bondi is also identified as a close ally and strong supporter of President Donald Trump. She was one of the president’s legal defenders during Trump’s impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

“I’ve known Chad since he was a deputy and watched him work in almost every aspect of Sheriff’s Office. He is honest, hardworking and dedicated. He epitomizes what a Sheriff should be. He’s always upheld the oath he took to keep our community safe. I’m proud to support Sheriff Chronister,” Bondi said, countering claims opponents made about Chronister’s integrity.

Boswell was forced out of the Sheriff’s office after several allegations against him were sustained including conduct unbecoming, discourtesy, and failing to follow orders from a superior. Boswell is challenging those sustained allegations in federal court.

“Having the support of Florida’s Top Cop, Ashley Moody and Former AG Pam Bondi is a real boost to our campaign and the great work we are doing in our community. They understand how to build a safe community and I have the greatest respect for both of them. I am thankful to have them on our team,” Chronister said.

Chronister has worked with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office since 1992. He was appointed to succeed former Sheriff David Gee and then elected in 2018, defeating Pruitt with 55% of the vote.

Chronister has raised more than $100,000 in his campaign and another nearly $900,000 in his affiliated political committee, Friends of Chad Chronister.

Boswell hasn’t reported any fundraising yet. Pruitt has raised just over $5,000 and McMullen nearly $13,000.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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