Sheriff Jerry Demings has filed paperwork with the Supervisor of Elections to run for Orange County Mayor. Sheriff Demings had been widely expected to announce his candidacy and the move will likely shut out other Democrats who were considering a run for County Mayor. The race will be an open seat as Mayor Teresa Jacobs has reached her term limit.
Demings’ wife, Congresswoman Val Demings, announced a brief run for Orange County Mayor in 2014 but then left Democrats without a candidate after she dropped out, and Mayor Jacobs sailed to re-election. Now, it appears the Democrats will have another Demings on top of the local ballot in 2018. Val Demings will also be running for re-election to Congress in 2018.
Sheriff Jerry Demings is a native of Orlando and has the distinction of serving as Orlando’s first black Police Chief. He was elected as the first black Orange County Sheriff in 2008, and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He is the chief law enforcement executive in the county and manages a budget of over $220 million dollars and approximately 2,500 employees.
Prior to being Sheriff, County Mayor Richard Crotty appointed him as the Director of Public Safety for Orange County in October 2002. He oversaw several Orange County Departments including the Jail, Fire Department, Public Safety Communications and Emergency Operations. He had combined budgetary oversight of over $320 million and nearly 3,200 employees.
Republicans considering a run for County Mayor include Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette and County Commissioner Pete Clarke.
Not all Democrats will be excited about Demings running for Mayor and he will still have work to do in order to solidify party support. In a mid-term election with no Presidential turnout boost, Demings will need every Democratic vote while trying to appeal to some Republican and independent voters.