JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 2015 sheriff's election has started heating up but has taken a very different turn as Ken Jefferson and Mike Williams are talking about personal finances, instead of crime and safety.
"It's a shame. We need to stop resonating with voters to discuss something like this," Jefferson said.
Jefferson stood with his tax attorney and said that he's working to resolve past tax debts. Those debts show up as public record, and he said he wanted to clear the air on what's happening.
He also said talking taxes at this point in a campaign is a distraction.
"I'll tell you this, I'm not a perfect man. I've made mistakes, but I'm willing to take responsibility, willing to stand up. And I'll do that same thing as your next sheriff," Jefferson said.
The mistakes he's referring to include tax debts going back to the 90s.
Jefferson said John Winkler is the attorney representing him as he tries to get back in good standing with the IRS.
Jefferson also said the personal tax trouble should not be a red flag to voters who consider entrusting him with the huge budget of the Jacksonville Sheriff's office.
"I'm human. I've made mistakes, but I've learned from those mistakes. That's what makes you a better person, by learning from mistakes. I can assure the voters, managing a $400 million budget with 3,500 employees will not be an issue, because I've learned from my mistakes in the past," Jefferson assured voters. "We both, myself and my opponent, we both share financial challenges that we're dealing with. It will not be an issue with me as your next sheriff."
"This is new to me. Let us have time to look at what we he has brought forward and then we will respond accordingly," Williams said. "While I understand that financial irregularities cannot be a campaign issue, this level of irregularity raises serious questions."