Democratic sheriff candidate and congressman Ron DeSantis’ campaign is slamming his primary opponent, former Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, for a campaign appearance with Sheriff Wayne Ivey in Florida. The program was for the South Florida Democrat to issue a statement supporting Mr. Ivey and vowing to make “law and order a priority in Dade County” if elected sheriff. But when people asked Mr. Dyer at a press conference if he would support Mr. Ivey if elected, he faced similar questions.
“I’ve seen sheriff’s races before in Dade County. But I’ve never seen one like this,” Mr. Dyer said to the crowd. “You know, when you take a political candidate out of the political world and put them into the community, often times you are going to have some pushback and that’s what’s happened today. But I’m very proud to support Sheriff Ivey. I think he’s really handled himself well here.”
Now Mr. DeSantis’ campaign is taking note of Mr. Dyer’s comments.
“Incumbent Democrat Sheriff Ivey is trying to re-write history here, claiming that Mr. Dyer today was rejecting the direction of liberal-leaning politicians and supporting Sheriff Ivey because of ‘past rhetoric’ or ‘previous statements,’” Mr. DeSantis spokesman Michael Barnett said in a statement on Monday afternoon. “As the best-known Republican candidate, Mr. DeSantis has been talking about President Trump’s economic policies for months. If Mr. Dyer really believed that, he would have to walk the walk. He’s up against a man who has been in the business for 30 years and has spent three terms as Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, a job that everyone in Tallahassee knows is not political at all.”
Mr. DeSantis began his own primary campaign attacking Mr. Dyer’s background in law enforcement, accusing the previous mayor of Democrat Ana Palacio of being soft on crime, a statement of which Mr. Dyer responded in a scathing way.
“I became Sheriff in 1985, the year Buddy Dyer became Orange County’s Sheriff,” Mr. DeSantis said during his first campaign debate with Mr. Dyer. “I’ve heard a lot of what Buddy’s done, now let me tell you a little bit about what I’ve done.”
Even though some congressional Democrats have expressed their concerns about Mr. DeSantis — before his own primary victory — the latest criticism puts the duo on the defensive. Mr. DeSantis has promised to continue the fight against undocumented immigrants and end chain migration as president.
A Southeastern Conference lacrosse player, Mr. Dyer was appointed sheriff of Orlando in 1987, and served until his departure in 2013. He later served as Orlando’s police chief before being elected to Congress. He ran for Congress against Rep. Daniel Webster during the 2014 cycle and lost. Mr. Dyer briefly ran for the Orlando mayor’s office in 2012 and lost to Mayor Buddy Dyer.
Mr. DeSantis won his primary against Ms. Palacio.