JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

One of seven announced candidates for Jacksonville sheriff held a news conference Tuesday on the steps of the Police Memorial Building to announce he had more than enough verified signatures to qualify for a spot on the March 2015 ballot.

The candidate says his campaign has turned in more than 7,000 petitions and the Duval County Supervisor of Elections has already verified 5,637 of them. Under Florida election law, 1 percent of registered voters must sign petitions to qualify for the ballot, which calculates to 5,573.

Jefferson said he is the first candidate for sheriff to turn in enough signatures.

"We still have a long way to go before the March 24, 2015, election and I can now focus on connecting with Duval County voters to share my vision for the future of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office," Jefferson said in a statement.

Jefferson is a 24-year veteran of the JSO.  Other candidates include Tony Cummings, Jay Farhat, Jimmy Holderfield, Mark Kerrin, Rob Schoonover and Mike Williams.

Sheriff John Rutherford cannot seek reelection due to term limits. The first election for his replacement will be March 24, 2015, with the two candidates receiving the most votes meeting again in the General Election on May 19.