Regional Sheriffs fall in behind T.K. Waters bid to be top Jax cop
T.K. Waters gets four more years without the distractions of a campaign.

TK-Waters ART
The Ron DeSantis-backed candidate racks up more major endorsements.

Republicans continue to coalesce around now-retired Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters ahead of the Special Election for Jacksonville Sheriff.

Waters, who was endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis weeks ago, secured the backing of five regional Sheriffs in his bid to be Jacksonville’s top cop.

“There is a simple, uncomplicated and no-nonsense way to pick the next Sheriff of Duval County. Look for the candidate with the best combination of skill, experience and knowledge of the issues facing our community. This formula leads to only one candidate, T.K. Waters,” asserted Duval County Sheriff Pat Ivey.

Ivey was appointed by DeSantis at the same press conference where the Governor endorsed Waters, so this endorsement isn’t surprising.

Michelle Cook, a former Jacksonville police officer who now is Clay County Sheriff, drew on shared history in her endorsement.

“T.K. and I have served together since our days as rookie cops on the same squad. I have seen firsthand his ability to engage with the community and his passion for keeping Jacksonville safe. T.K. is the clear choice to be Jacksonville’s next Sheriff,” Cook said.

Added St. Johns County Sheriff Rob Hardwick, “Neighboring agencies frequently work together on cases, making the partnership between the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office vitally important. T.K. Waters has the experience, leadership ability and knowledge necessary to be Jacksonville’s next Sheriff.”

Waters has roughly $1.25 million on hand between his campaign account and his A Safer Jacksonville for All account. The only Republican candidate in the race, he will face a field of four Democrats in the unitary election on Aug. 23.

“In my 30 years in law enforcement, I have seen firsthand that officers like T.K. Waters are the type of leaders we need. He is an honest, honorable and dedicated public servant, and in addition to his commitment to community partnerships, he brings unrivaled experience to the job of ensuring a safer city,” enthused Baker County Sheriff Scotty Rhoden.

Added Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith, “To T.K., the office of Sheriff is not a job, it’s a lifestyle and he’s the only candidate who has a history of standing up to the powerful, working in our communities, and is the best candidate to keep Duval County safe and provide the best services to everyone in Jacksonville.”

Democrat Lakesha Burton continues to be the second-strongest fundraiser in the race, with roughly $930,000 cash on hand between her campaign account and her Make Every Voice Count political committee.

Three other Democrats running have struggled to match Burton.

Repeat candidate Ken Jefferson has roughly $23,000 cash on hand. After months as an active candidate, Wayne Clark has around $7,000 on hand. And Tony Cummings, who has run twice before, has under $300 — also after months in the field.

“I’d like to thank my colleagues from across the region for their support and endorsement,” Waters said, accepting the endorsements. “Collaboration and agency partnerships are key to keeping Northeast Florida safe. By continuing to work together, I know we can make our community an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

The first round of the Special Election, pitting all candidates on the same ballot, is with the August Primary. If no one gets a majority, the top two finishers move on to the November General Election. All registered voters can vote in both elections.

No matter who wins, the term will be short; Jacksonville will hold Municipal Elections in Spring 2023.

The opening comes after the unexpected retirement of former Sheriff Mike Williams, who left office after a report he’d moved out of the county, a violation of the City Charter. Non-candidate Pat Ivey, the previous undersheriff, is Williams’ temporary replacement.

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


  • Tought on crime

    July 6, 2022 at 6:21 am

    lets just hope he is tough on black lives matter, like he said he would be, or he will be a one termer

  • MK

    July 6, 2022 at 10:04 am

    We don’t need status quo. I am looking forward to Lakesha Burton as next sheriff it is about time we have a black woman as sheriff.

  • jozef

    July 7, 2022 at 7:58 am

    I read your article it is very informative for me. I hope I will find more articles in the future.

Comments are closed.


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