CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels’ arrest doesn’t stop an election from taking place, though it comes just days before Florida’s primary.
Now, five other candidates are weighing-in. The decision of Clay County voters may have gotten harder Thursday, or clearer, depending on the perspective.
“Well, I think it’s a shame that this investigation went on so long. The people of Clay County -- who have already voted,” said Harold Rutledge, candidate for sheriff.
Mike Taylor, another candidate for sheriff, told News4Jax, “I’ve been the only candidate for the last 10 months that has said he’s going to be charged. He’s going to be arrested. You cannot break the laws, the sheriff, and operate with impunity.”
Ben Carroll, a third candidate, said, “I felt it was, unfortunately, for the taxpayers and voters of Clay County, that all this was going on during a very confusing time as it already is with six candidates in the race. It was just that much more confusion for the voters to have to deal with.”
“I think this is a very sad day for Clay County,” said Michelle Cook, a fourth candidate for sheriff. “It’s a sad day for law enforcement, but you know it’s going to give us an opportunity to get back on track and you know, bring in some professional policing and law enforcement into the county.”
While candidates continued jostling for position heading into Tuesday’s in-person voting. The timing of the charges and the arrest are being debated.
Daniels previously told News4Jax that it feels politically motivated to him.
“I don’t I don’t think so,” Carroll said. “I think this is our judicial process carrying out due process of a man who has been accused of violating the law, and he’s going to exercise his rights under the law to have a
“I think the timing is terrible,” Rutledge said. “I don’t know if it’s politically motivated. I’m not sure where that would come from, but again, you know, this dragged on so long, and I don’t know why it took FDLE and the State Attorney’s Office (so long) to do this.”
Cook said, “Any time anybody in law enforcement is arrested, that’s a sad day for law enforcement. The fact that it happened in Clay County, was the highest ranking law enforcement officer in Clay County, to me, it just makes it doubly sad.”
“About half of the voting in Clay County has already occurred,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately, that means every candidate or every voter that voted for Sheriff Daniels’ vote will not count. That’s my biggest concern.”
News4Jax received a written statement from candidate Catherine Webb. It reads in part:
“This is a sad day for our county. I ask that you pray for the men and women in uniform, the Sheriff, and all the candidates that are running. As a resident like you, I ask that you keep Clay County strong, and I will do the same.”