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Last-minute push helps Mike Williams win Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office runoff

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

In the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office runoff, it may have been interesting, and at times there was suspense, but Mike Williams began the evening with the lead, and never really left.

Williams, a Republican who recieved a number of high-profile endorsements in the race, overtook Democrat Ken Jefferson early on to win 52 to 48 percent, according to the Duval County Supervisor of Elections website. Williams now replaces term-limited Sheriff John Rutherford.

For his part, Rutherford may be retiring, but not dropping out of sight; he announced Tuesday that he will run to replace Ron DeSantis in Congress, as the Jacksonville Republican takes a shot a Marco Rubio’s Senate seat.

In 2011, Jefferson took 38 percent of the vote against Rutherford, who at the time was running for his third term.

On Election Day, Florida Politics reported on a barrage of robocalls supporting Williams, leading Jefferson to take Facebook to complain about the negative messaging in the race.

Williams is a 23-year veteran of the department, serving as director of patrol. He also received the endorsement of both Rutherford and Jacksonville’s business community. Williams previously worked as director of Investigations and Homeland Security.

Jefferson, who has never held elected office or a major administrative posts, boasted successes in drug education and community engagement, maintaining he has the administrative skills for the job.

“It’s always been a question and I’m ready for it,” he told the Florida Times-Union in March.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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