Former sheriff candidate Jefferson crosses party lines to endorse Waters

T.K. Waters and Ken Jefferson hold a news conference on Monday (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In what is expected to be a closely contested race for Jacksonville sheriff, Republican T.K. Waters announced an endorsement Monday from one of his former opponents: Democrat Ken Jefferson.

Jefferson finished third to Waters and Democrat Lakesha Burton in the primary, leaving him out of November’s run-off election. Waters finished the primary with 47% of the vote and Burton had 33%.

Jefferson opted to cross party lines Monday to endorse Waters as early voting began this week in Duval County.

“We need a Sheriff who will guide and lead the men and women who serve and protect us by enforcing the laws of the land, prevent crime and disorder, and make our city safer for everyone,” Jefferson said Monday at the Fraternal Order of Police. “Make no mistake: There is only one candidate that I trust to do that. I endorse T.K. Waters for Sheriff and encourage the 22,000 people who supported me to consider doing the same.”

Waters said he was grateful for Jefferson’s support and called him a “great friend.”

“His endorsement is a testament to the support our campaign has from all corners of our city, regardless of background or political affiliation,” Waters said. “I stand ready to use my more than 30 years of experience to build back trust through transparency and communication, put more officers on the streets and restore a service mentality to the JSO.”

Burton and Waters have each raised well over $1.5 million in the hotly contested race.

Burton recently got an interesting endorsement herself when Molly Curry, wife of Republican Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, threw her support behind Burton.

Among his endorsements, Waters has the support of leading Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis and State Attorney Melissa Nelson.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.