Peter Antonacci, director of Florida’s election crimes unit, dies at 74

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - AUGUST 18: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis listens as Florida Election Crimes and Security Office Director Peter Antonacci speaks during a press conference at the Broward County Courthouse on August 18, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Governor announced during the press conference that the state’s new Office of Election Crimes and Security has uncovered and are in the process of arresting 20 individuals across the state for voter fraud. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) (Joe Raedle, 2022 Getty Images)

MIAMI – Peter Antonacci, the director of the state’s Office of Election Crimes and Security who had a long career in state government, died, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Friday. He was 74.

DeSantis described Antonacci as a “dedicated, tenacious, and assiduous public servant, lawyer, and respected professional” who “vigilantly sought to uphold the law throughout his lengthy career.”

Antonacci served as a deputy attorney general, Palm Beach County state attorney, general counsel to former Gov. Rick Scott, Broward County’s supervisor of elections, and most recently as the newly appointed watchdog over Florida’s election security.

“His fighting passion will be missed, and his legacy will persist in the hearts and minds of many,” DeSantis said.

Before he accepted DeSantis’s appointment, Antonacci served as chief judge for the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. He also served as the executive director of the South Florida Water Management District and of Enterprise Florida.

Antonacci graduated from Hialeah High School. He transferred from Miami-Dade College to Florida State University where he also earned his law degree. He was admitted to the Florida Bar on Sept. 17, 1979.

Peter Schorsch, the publisher of Florida Politics, also tweeted news of Antonacci’s death and reported witnesses said he had suffered a heart attack in the Florida Capitol.

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The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.