The major union for police officers, the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), announced they are endorsing Republican Ron DeSantis for governor.
The endorsement comes four years after the Florida PBA endorsed the Democratic nominee for governor, Charlie Crist.
The endorsement also comes amid harsh criticism from DeSantis on how current Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum has handled public safety during his time as an elected official in Tallahassee.
Tallahassee’s crime rate was ranked number one in the state of Florida from 2014-2017 and murders in Tallahassee have spiked during Gillum’s stint as mayor.
The Big Bend PBA chose not to endorse Gillum during his successful run for mayor of Tallahassee in 2014.
Florida PBA President John Kazanjian, said in a statement that, “The men and women of law enforcement want to tell Floridians that Ron DeSantis has our backs. That’s why I’m proud to announce that we have his back,”
Jeff Marano, president of the Broward County PBA, issued his own statement in support of DeSantis. “He has a proven track record of supporting issues relevant to law enforcement officers and their families.”
Gillum’s campaign for governor was endorsed by five current and former sheriff’s – all five are Democrats. These endorsements included Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil, who used to serve as Tallahassee’s police chief.
“As sheriff of Leon County, I have personally worked with Andrew, and have watched him work to build a safer community for our kids, work side by side with law enforcement to tackle violent crime, and stand up for common sense gun reform,” McNeil said. “As governor, I know he will carry the same level of integrity and dedication to the safety of all Floridians.”
Others announcing endorsements of Gillum were Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, Osceola County Sheriff Russell H. Gibson and Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell.