Jefferson, Williams break from pack in sheriff's race

Runoff for Jacksonville's next top cop set for May 19

Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams
Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The voters have spoken, and out of a field of seven, two men are one step closer to becoming Jacksonville's next top cop.

With no candidate breaking out to win at least 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff, Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams advance to face each other with the city votes again on May 19.

Jefferson broke out into an early lead and kept ahead of the pack every step of the way.  When the last ballots were counted about 9:20 p.m., Jefferson was still on top, with 65,200 votes, or nearly 37 percent of the vote.

"Your children will be my children.  Your family will be my family.  And when crime touch you, it touches me.  And I will not rest one day, till we get this violent crime under control.  There's a new sheriff coming to town, and his name is Ken Jefferson," Jefferson said.

Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams
Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams

Mike Williams had a more difficult run, with Jimmy Holderfield hot on his trail all night.  Williams was able to stave off Holderfield, taking 22.2 percent of the vote to Holderfield's 20.3 percent.

Williams, speaking from campaign headquarters, said he and his supports couldn't contain their excitement.

"It's been a great night, it's been a great crowd all night long.  These guys have been a big help for these last 18 months and it looks like it's all coming together tonight," Williams said.  "We've put a lot of work in the last 18 months, not just me but the guys in this room and it makes you feel good that it's paying off."

Though they put up a good fight, Holderfield's campaign didn't have enough down the final stretch to pull a victory out of the evening. 

"Boy, I sure was looking forward to being your next sheriff.  The next step for me is more time with the wife and my beautiful granddaughter. The citizens of Jax have to decide their next sheriff and I'll be right there as an advocate to make sure Jacksonville is one of safest cities around," Holderfield graciously conceded.