Former Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats is backing Chris Scherer for Pinellas County Commission, a nod that establishes credibility for Scherer in the public safety sphere.
“As a former Sheriff, I know how important strong, common-sense leadership by the County Commission is. Chris Scherer is just the type of leader Pinellas County needs on the Commission,” Coats said.
“As a business owner and employer, he understands the difficulties of hiring employees who struggle to afford housing in Pinellas County. Chris will work to cut taxes to help make Pinellas more affordable and reduce wasteful spending by our local government.”
Coats called Scherer “a friend of law enforcement.”
Scherer is running for the at large District 1 seat currently held by Janet Long, a Democrat. Scherer is a Republican. Democrat Cookie Kennedy, the current Mayor of Indian Rock Beach, is also running to succeed Long, who is retiring from office.
Scherer has more than doubled Kennedy in fundraising for the race so far, with more than $155,000 raised between his official campaign and affiliated political committee, Friends of Chris Scherer. Kennedy’s campaign has matched Scherer’s — both have raised about $84,000 — but she doesn’t have an affiliated political committee boosting her spending power.
Scherer is also working hard to collect endorsements. His most recent was from Sen. Nick DiCeglie and he’s also received nods from former Florida Education Commission Richard Corcoran, and from Rep. Bernie Jacques, Clearwater interim Mayor Brian Aungst Sr., Belleair Bluffs Mayor Chris Arbutine Sr., former Sen. Jeff Brandes, former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, former St. Petersburg City Council member Robert Blackmon and Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey.
Long’s departure from her position sets up an open race for a countywide seat Republicans have long eyed for a flip.
Republicans recently flipped the political makeup of the Pinellas County Commission in the 2022 Midterms and are looking to grow that advantage with a Scherer victory this year.
They’re also eyeing Charlie Justice’s seat, with a bid by Republican Vincent Nowicki to unseat the longtime Democratic Commissioner.
Scherer celebrated his newest endorsement Tuesday.
“Jim Coats served our community with integrity and Distinction as Pinellas Sheriff. Coats’ commitment to public safety and the rule of law has made Pinellas County an exceptional place to live and work,” Scherer said. “I look forward to working on the County Commission to make sure all our law enforcement officers have the tools they need to keep local families safe.”