JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The crowded race for Jacksonville sheriff in 2023 got another new name this week when Democrat Tony Cummings threw his hat in the ring.
Cummings has run two previous unsuccessful campaigns for sheriff in 2015 and 2019. In 2019 he lost to Republican Sheriff Mike Williams by a 23-point margin.
Cummings, who has 28 years of law enforcement experience, is running as a Police Reform Candidate. He has a doctoral degree in organizational leadership, a master’s degree in organizational management, and undergrad degrees in business administration and criminal justice.
“My decision to run in this Open Seat Election was fueled by the hundreds of you who have stopped me on the streets to share your personal stories about having to live your lives in constant fear of becoming the next victim of the random gun violence that has essentially traumatized our city,” Cummings said in a news release this week announcing his candidacy. “No matter where I go in the county (e.g., gas station, grocery store, barbershop), I run into someone who has been directly impacted by the out-of-control violence.”
Cummings is among five candidates currently vying for the agency’s top office when Williams terms out in 2023.
The others are current Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief of Investigations T.K. Waters and Mathew Nemeth -- both Republicans -- and two Democrats JSO Asst. Chief Lakesha Burton and former Duval County School Police Asst. Chief Wayne Clark, who retired from JSO as chief of patrol.
Waters, who has been with JSO since 1991, announced his candidacy in August. He got his start as a corrections officer, moved to patrol and rose to the rank of sergeant before joining Williams’ command staff.
Burton, who has more than 20 years of experience with JSO, announced in April she was running to succeed Williams. Burton is the second African American woman to reach the rank of police lieutenant and the fourth to be selected as assistant chief in Duval County.
After recently retiring from his leadership role with the Duval County School Police, Clark announced his candidacy in July. He said he’s bringing four decades of law enforcement experience to the race and is vowing to protect Jacksonville residents’ civil rights.
Nemeth, JSO’s chief of special events who has more than 33 years of experience working in law enforcement, announced he was running for sheriff earlier this month, according to our news partner WJCT.