JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sheriff Mike Williams has about one year left in his term. However, if it is found that he vacated his office already, we could see a new top cop sooner with a special election.
Right now, there are six candidates who are running in the 2023 election.
On Tuesday, we caught up with five of them, and they are weighing in on whether Sheriff Mike Williams’ move out of the county violated the city charter.
Democratic candidate Wayne Clark said the rules for moving out of the county are clear. “My first reaction was why did it take so long for this information to come out because this has not been a secret for over a year.” Clark continued, “I am dismayed because we all understood to be a candidate for any office in Duval County, you must live in the county.”
Republican candidate, Mat Nemeth’s campaign sent us this statement: “At this time, like the rest of our community, we are waiting to see what the General Counsel has to say about the matter. I am currently a Duval County resident and plan to remain so.” Nemeth is a retired chief of special events for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Democrat Lakesha Burton told News4JAX, “I think I had the same reaction as most people, but what I want to say is that for the sake of our city and our agency, I hope that this is resolved immediately and we can get back to focusing on the real problem and the real problem is the increase in violence in our community.”
Another Democrat running for sheriff in 2023, Ken Jefferson, said “I think it saddens and sickens the residents here in Duval County who elected him and whom he is sworn to serve and protect in this particular county as well as live in the county.” Jefferson went on to say, “What that tells me is that he has checked out, he’s checked out in my opinion and he had given up on the citizens of Jacksonville because now he’s going to another county.”
Dr. Tony Cummings, also a Democrat, responded with a statement that reads in part: “The citizens of Jacksonville, Florida deserve so much better than a sheriff who refuses to follow the rule of law. How can he be trusted with enforcing equal protection under the law for all citizens, when he is so willing to violate the law to satisfy his own personal needs.”
Burton, Clark, Cummings, Jefferson and Nemeth all told News4JAX they live in Duval County. Each candidate said they want voters to research everyone who is running and make a choice they believe will be best for the city.
News4JAX reached out to the campaign for Republican candidate T.K. Waters, and we haven’t heard back. He is currently chief of investigations for JSO. If we get a response from his campaign, we will pass it along to you.