Four sheriffs endorse Tom Leek’s state Senate bid
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/7/24-Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, gives his farewell remarks, Thursday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'I will always have their backs in the Florida Legislature.'

Rep. Tom Leek’s campaign for Senate District 7 announced endorsements from all sitting Sheriffs in the four-county seat.

The endorsements came from Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly, Putnam Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach, St. Johns Sheriff Robert Hardwick and Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood, each of whom praised the Ormond Beach Republican’s pro-law enforcement record.

“Those of us at the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office live by the words ‘An Honor to Serve, A Duty to Protect.’ After eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, Tom Leek has proven he is a man of integrity who will always do what is necessary to keep his constituents safe, including backing the blue at every opportunity. I am proud to support him in his bid for the Florida Senate,” Staly said in a news release.

Hardwick, meanwhile, lauded Leek’s work on the law enforcement recruiting package passed during the 2022 Legislation Session. The bill, sponsored by Leek and championed by the Governor, included training reimbursements and signing bonuses to new officers as well as veteran law enforcement officers who come to Florida from out of state.

Leek said he was “beyond grateful” for the endorsements, adding, “Our brave law enforcement officers and first responders put themselves on the line to protect and defend the citizens of Florida each and every day, and I will always have their backs in the Florida Legislature.”

Leek was first elected to the state House in 2016 and has risen up the ranks in the chamber, including serving as the Chair of the House Redistricting Committee in the 2022 Session and as the House Budget Chief under Speaker Paul Renner.

He currently represents part of Volusia County in House District 28 and is running to succeed Sen. Travis Hutson in SD 7. Hutson is term limited and has already endorsed Leek in the Republican Primary, where he faces Gerry James.

Democrat George Hill II and no-party candidate Michael Gist are also running, though SD 7 is a solidly red district where DeSantis won re-election with nearly 70% of the vote two years ago.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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