Chad Chronister likely to coast to victory Tuesday despite nasty primary

Chronister's opponent accuses the incumbent Sheriff of being too liberal.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is facing a primary challenger Tuesday in a race that has turned ugly this summer.

Charles Brian Boswell, a former Hillsborough County Sheriffs detective, is attempting to paint Chronister as a corrupt cop and a faux conservative, with supporters often attacking Chronister for his past support of Democrats, including a $15,000 contribution to former President Barack Obama in 2012.

While armed with an arsenal of attacks, Boswell’s campaign lacks the resources to flood the county with his message, putting him at a likely disadvantage Tuesday.

Chronister has raised more than $300,000 for his campaign compared to Boswell’s $45,000. To make that gap even more daunting, Chronister’s affiliated political committee, Friends of Chad Chronister, has raked in another nearly $1 million.

Boswell served 25 years with HCSO, but was forced out of his position after disciplinary action dating back to 2014 triggered a demotion, reduction in pay, suspensions and, ultimately, his job.

Several allegations against him were sustained, including noncompliance with a direct order of a superior, conduct unbecoming an officer and discourtesy.

But Boswell claims his demotion and disciplinary action were retaliation for refusing to remain complacent in a coerced confession on a murder investigation he worked.

The agency claims Boswell failed to comply with orders to record all of his suspect interviews and that in one recorded interview, he stopped the recording abruptly before later resuming it.

The agency also alleges he was disrespectful to an assistant state attorney.

Boswell counters all of that in a 137 page federal lawsuit arguing he did comply with orders, only turned the recorder off at the lawful request of the suspect who wished to make an off-the-record comment, and that he was the victim of numerous false allegations and lies, which he claims have since been retracted among his accusers.

Chronister is specifically named in his lawsuit despite Chronister not being the Sheriff at the time

Chronister’s campaign has given allegations against him little daylight.

Instead, the campaign highlights Boswell’s disciplinary record. A May flier attacked Boswell as a disgruntled ex-cop.

Boswell also faces an ethics complaint claiming he attempted to intimidate a Chronister supporter, a current deputy, by implying his job was in jeopardy should Boswell be elected.

The winner of the GOP primary will take on Democrat Gary Pruitt and no-party-affiliated candidate Ron McMullen in the Nov. 3 general election.

McMullen has raised just over $38,000 and has about $22,000 left to spend. Pruitt has raised less than $14,000 and has spent almost all of it, leaving Chronister with a strong financial edge in the general should he survive the primary.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].

One comment

  • John McMahon

    August 16, 2020 at 12:11 am

    Any law enforcement officer in this country that supports Barrak Obama a communist racist politician who poses for photos with the anti Semitic Luis Farrakhan , is not FIT to be a dog catcher much less a Florida sheriff!!

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