Speaking Monday before a Special Election was set for the soon-to-be-vacant Sheriff position, Gov. Ron DeSantis made his picks for the present and the future of the office.
DeSantis, in eastern Duval County for a budget highlight event, said he will be elevating Undersheriff Pat Ivey, and he will endorse Chief T.K. Waters in the upcoming election, he said.
“I’ve spoken with a lot of folks in the Sheriff’s Office and outside,” DeSantis said, setting up the decision.
Ivey will take over as current Sheriff Mike Williams is retiring amid a violation of the city charter’s residency requirement. DeSantis sent out an email Monday afternoon cementing the appointment, seemingly making it effective immediately.
DeSantis said Ivey would offer “continuity to get us through to the end of the year,” while clearly endorsing Waters for beyond the year.
“That’s my man there,” DeSantis said, saying Waters would offer “excellent leadership” for the people of Jacksonville.
The Special Election will have a direct impact on the six candidates in the race, including Waters. The First Election will be on the August Primary ballot, with the top two finishers moving along to the General Election in November.
Waters is the leading fundraiser in the field, one of two candidates with over $1 million on hand between his campaign account and political committee. Democrat Lakesha Burton is close behind, also over the million-dollar cash-on-hand mark.
Other candidates in the field aren’t matching Burton and Waters. Republican Mat Nemeth has a little more than $65,000 on hand, good for third place in fundraising.
Behind Nemeth are three Democrats, two of whom have run before.
Ken Jefferson, a former spokesperson for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, is known to local television news viewers as a crime analyst. He lost narrowly to retiring incumbent Mike Williams in 2015’s General Election. Jefferson has raised a little more than $46,000, but has spent over $20,000 of that sum already.
Wayne Clark has raised over $32,000 as a candidate, and has spent more than $28,000 of that.
Tony Cummings, who has run twice before, loaned his campaign $50 in April. That was the account’s sole activity.
DeSantis extolled Williams, saying he’d done a great job as Jacksonville Sheriff and that Williams was “someone (he) considered a friend.”
“I don’t think this was an expected thing,” DeSantis said of the sudden retirement. “I think it just kind of happened.”
The charter controversy that roiled locals was not as major a concern for DeSantis.
“I think he got advice that it was OK,” DeSantis said. “I don’t think there was any ill intent on his part.”
June 6, 2022 at 11:06 am
Man I thought fo sho it was gonna be Cord Byrd’s brotha from another mutha.
DeSantis wrong on this endorsement
June 6, 2022 at 2:31 pm
Ron is wrong on this one. Mat Nemeth is the best choice. WE know he will be tough on criminals and also on BLM and the likes, Ben Frazier. Waters, not so sure he will be???
June 6, 2022 at 6:02 pm
Mat is too busy eating donuts just like this chump lol
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