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Atlantic Beach police chief announces run for Clay County sheriff

New candidate for sheriff
New candidate for sheriff

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Another challenger has entered the crowded race for Clay County sheriff.

On Wednesday, the Clay County Supervisor of Elections announced Michelle Cook has filed to run for the position of sheriff in the 2020 election. The Atlantic Beach police chief is the fifth candidate to file.

Darryl Daniels, the current Clay County sheriff, has said publicly that he plans to run in the 2020 election. He has not yet filed for re-election.

In 2019, Daniels filed a report accusing Cierra Smith, a woman he supervised when he was chief of the jail for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, of having a gun in her car and following him. The accusation against Smith eventually revealed that she and the married sheriff had been having an affair for years and that the relationship had soured.

A formal investigation into Daniels has been launched by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The investigation was announced the same day an anonymous letter addressed to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, the FDLE and the media surfaced asking that Daniels be replaced.

Records show Mike Taylor, a former FDLE agent, has raised the most money so far of the candidates, with more than $78,000 in monetary contributions.

Other candidates include Ben Carroll, a former police chief who has raised over $44,000, and Harold Rutledge, a former sergeant and Clay County commissioner who has raised over $23,000 in contributions.

Catherine Webb, a retired Navy chief, is the fifth candidate. She’s raised $1,850 in contributions.

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