ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Rob Hardwick, the St. Augustine Beach police chief who sailed to a decisive victory in the Republican primary in August and cruised to an easy victory without a write-in opponent in November, was sworn in Tuesday as the new sheriff of St. Johns County.
Sheriff David Shoar retired after five terms, making Hardwick the county’s first new sheriff in 16 years.
“As we embark on the 200th anniversary of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this agency,” Hardwick said in a statement. “The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is full of great men and women who put the safety and well-being of our citizens and visitors first. I am excited to get to work as your sheriff and continue to serve our great county. It is my #1 priority to ensure St. Johns County remains the best place to live, work, play and raise a family.”
Hardwick joined The Morning Show on the day after his August victory to discuss his future (press play below to watch):
Hardwick continued to run the St. Augustine Beach Police Department until November before he began working on his transition to sheriff.
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St. Johns County Republicans also elected Christian Whitehurst as County Commission District 1 over incumbent Jimmy Johns. He will face Democrat Joe McAnarney in November.
Anthony Coleman defeated Nick Graham in the nonpartisan race for School Board District 2.
Nearly 30% of registered voters in St. Johns County cast ballots in the primary -- 43% by mail, 30% on election day and 26% during early voting.
A write-in dropout meant Michelle Cook was elected Clay County’s next sheriff during the Republican primary. She too was sworn in Tuesday.
The write-in candidate -- Frank Bourrie -- withdrew from the race with a handwritten note.
Sheriff H.D. “Gator” DeLoach was sworn in today to begin his second term in Putnam County.
He reaffirmed his commitment to the residents of Putnam County to protect and serve our community.
“I am truly grateful and blessed that the residents of Putnam overwhelmingly showed their faith and trust in what we are accomplishing at the sheriff’s office by electing me for a second term,” Sheriff DeLoach said in a prepared statement. “I am a firm believer on not resting on laurels and continuing to find ways to improve the service we provide to our community.”
Tuesday also marked the beginning of Sheriff Bill Leeper’s third term as Nassau County sheriff.
According to a news release, he’s the first sheriff in Nassau to be re-elected unopposed in over 50 years.
“I am truly humbled, grateful and blessed that the citizens of Nassau County have shown their faith and trust in what the great men and women have accomplished at the Sheriff’s Office over the past eight years by re-electing me for a third term,” Leeper said in a prepared statement. “My commitment over the next four years is to continue finding ways where the Sheriff’s Office can improve the service that we provide to our community to ensure Nassau County remains a safe place to live, work and raise a family.”
Sheriff Mark Hunter was sworn in during a ceremony Tuesday at the school board complex in Lake City. All elected Constitutional officials were sworn in during the ceremony, which was attended by family, friends and members of the public.
Hunter was elected as Sheriff of Columbia County in 2008 and has been serving in that capacity since then.
“I am humbled and honored to continue my service as Sheriff of Columbia County,” Hunter said in a statement. “I appreciate the support from our citizens and Sheriff’s Office employees. I look forward to continuing to improve the Sheriff’s Office to best serve our community.”