She’s the Sheriff: Michelle Cook starts early in Clay County

Michelle Cook
Sheriff-elect gets a head start.

In Green Cove Springs Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis resolved the Clay County Sheriff situation, appointing the woman who won the primary last month.

In mid-August, the Governor chose Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Matt Walsh as interim sheriff, replacing Darryl Daniels, who was suspended Aug. 14 amid charges related to tampering with evidence and making false statements to investigators.

Daniels has since gone on to lose his bid for reelection, and Atlantic Beach Police Chief Michelle Cook simplified the decision for the Governor.

“We knew if Michelle Cook won, we could give her a head start,” DeSantis said Tuesday, clearly relieved that he did not have to figure out how to work with a reelected Daniels.

He quipped that Cook wanted a few days lead time to get started before an instant appointment.

Cook, a longtime member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office before the chief role in Atlantic Beach, will be the first female Sheriff of Clay County.

Before the previous Sheriff’s fall from grace, he was a political asset to statewide Republicans.

The Sheriff famously stumped for DeSantis in 2018, serving as a validator of the Governor’s commitment to law and order in his successful campaign against Democrat Andrew Gillum. (Worth noting is that Daniels’ enthusiasm for DeSantis came only after he served a similar role in Adam Putnam‘s primary campaign against DeSantis).

Daniels performed a similar function for Attorney General Ashley Moody in her run the same year, slamming Democrat Sean Shaw with alacrity.

In both Moody and DeSantis’ respective General Election campaigns, the telegenic, baritone-voiced lawman was integral to the closing argument.

Now, he is a cautionary tale.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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