After one term as sheriff, Jeff Hardy attracted eight challengers who want his job, four of which were eliminated in the August primaries.

In the General Election, Democrat Hardy will face Republican Brent Coats and two independent candidates Larry Masters and Matthew Ramer.  Karl CC Behm qualified as a write-in candidate in the race.

Here are the candidates, in alphabetical order.

Brent Coates, putnam sheriff

Brent Coates


PARTY:  Republican

FAMILY:  Married to high school sweetheart, Kendra, for 29 years; 3 children

EXPERIENCE:  31 years of law experience; retired as major after 28 years with the Florida Highway Patrol

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Facebook.com/BrentCoatesForSheriff

This candidate has not responded to WJXT/News4Jax.com's questionnaire.
Candidate information provided to Putnam County Supervisor of Elections

Jeff Hardy

PARTY: Democrat

AGE:  46

FAMILY:  Married to wife, Susan, for 25 years

OCCUPATION:  Putnam County Sheriff

EDUCATION:  A.S. degree, Vincennes University, Cum Laude; graduate, FDLE Chief Executive Seminar; graduate, FBI Executive Development Seminar; graduate Chief Executive Seminar, 42nd Session; Certified Police Motorcycle Instructor; instructor, First Presidential Motorcycle Motorcade Support Unit for United States Secret Service;  Instructor, Domestic Terrorism for School Districts; licensed airplane/helicopter pilot' U.S.N. Aircraft Carrier Kitty Hawk aviation structural mechanic/crew member

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  Putnam County Sheriff since 1/06/09

WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?

  • Fiscal responsibility. Given the economic reality faced by the federal, state and local governments, that’s a huge issue in every political race in the nation. My administration has been very frugal with tax dollars and I have returned money from my budget to the County at the end of every fiscal year that I have been in office.
  • Continuing to lower the crime rate in the County. We have made significant progress in that area during my first three years in office. However, my staff and I believe that given an additional four years the changes that we have implemented will bring about additional crime reduction.
  • Stability. Under my leadership the Sheriff’s Office is on the right track. The district policing model that I implemented is a huge success. Crime rates are down. People tell me every day that they are seeing more deputies and patrol cars in their neighborhoods than ever before. Our fiscal policies are working. We have routinely operated below budget. We are doing a good job and I think it’s important that we have the opportunity to continue to build upon the successful foundation that we have laid during my first term."

HOW CAN YOU HELP VOTERS IN A WAY THAT THE OTHERS RUNNING FOR THIS OFFICE CANNOT?

  • "Hands down, it’s my experience. I not only have 24 years of law enforcement experience but I have a first-hand working knowledge of every aspect of the Sheriff’s Office. And that is because I have worked my way up through the ranks and I have personally done almost every job in the agency at one time or another. However, beyond all of that, I am the only one running for this office that has been a Sheriff. None of my opponents have sat in that office and made the hard decisions that are required of a Sheriff on a day to day basis."

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?

  • "I would want to be remembered for being a Sheriff, a public servant that cared about the people of Putnam County. One who performed the duties of my office and fairly enforced the law without fear or favor. One who always equally protected the lives, property and interests of all of the citizens that I swore to defend."

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE:  sheriffhardy.com

Larry Masters - Putnam sheriff NPA candidate

Larry Masters


PARTY:  No party affiliation

OCCUPATION:  Retired businessman who has been a police chaplain and public service assistant

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: MastersForSheriff.com

This candidate has not responded to WJXT/News4Jax.com's questionnaire.
Candidate information provided to Putnam County Supervisor of Elections

Matt Ramer - Putnam Sherif NPA Matt Ramer


PARTY:  No party affiliation

AGE:  36

FAMILY:  Wife of 12 years and two children, 7 and 9 years old

OCCUPATION:  Candidate for sheriff

EDUCATION:   Certified law enforcement officer, certified corrections officer, licensed auctioneer, numerous career development courses

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE:  First-time candidate
 
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TOP THREE ISSUES IN THIS RACE?

  1. "Drug addiction and substance abuse by a growing segment of our society is endangering the lives of our youth and is the motive for many burglaries, thefts, robberies and horrific acts of violence within Putnam County.
  2. "The elected Sheriff must maintain and/or enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, quality and delivery of service that the citizens of Putnam County deserve and expect from their Sheriff's Office while reducing the ever-increasing burden of taxation.
  3. "Putnam County deputies are accepting jobs with other law enforcement agencies that offer better working conditions and pay at an alarming rate. The Sheriff and his staff must reduce the high attrition rate (loss) of deputies, which are some of the most expensive positions funded by the taxpayers of Putnam County.  It has been estimated that the Sheriff's Office expends approximately $100,000 to screen, hire, train, equip and pay the salary and benefits of a first year deputy."

HOW CAN YOU HELP VOTERS IN A WAY THAT THE OTHERS RUNNING FOR THIS OFFICE CANNOT?

  • "Voters can be confident that I have the requisite knowledge, training, experience and personal dedication to serve as their elected Sheriff.  I will save significant tax dollars and improve services by:
    - Top-down changes ensuring all deputies are fighting crime and illegal drugs.
    - New technology to predict and prevent crime.
    - Reducing the size and cost of the Sheriff's executive staff.
    - Abolishing jobs, consultants, and contracts generated from politics.
    - Ending expenditures that are not critical to our mission.
    - Implementing a fully transparent and accountable budget process."

WHAT WOULD YOU HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR ACCOMPLISHING AFTER SERVING IN THIS OFFICE?

  • "My legacy is dependent upon my record. I hope to leave the Office of Sheriff in better standing with the community than it will be received. To have made Putnam County one of the safest places to live, work and recreate in the state of Florida."

 
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: Ramer4Sheriff.com | Facebook.com/pages/Matt-Ramer-for-Sheriff-of-Putnam-County