FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said he has a long way to go. But, right now, he is focusing on leading the Sheriff's Office.
"I talked early on about coming into this organization where my focal point would be to remove the politics and get back to being a public safety organization and let that be our primary focus," Tony said.
Meanwhile, his Republican competitor on the November ballot is hoping to attract Democratic independent voters who weren't thrilled with their options for sheriff.
“The Broward Sheriff’s office is a public safety agency; it is not a political agency. We need to take the politics out of it because that’s what led us to the mess we’re in now,” H. Wayne Clark, Republican candidate for Broward County Sheriff, said.
There is another candidate who also remains in the running for the position — non party affiliate Charles “Chuck” Whatley.
On Wednesday, Tony and Clark talked about their paths to November’s election.
“At this point in time, I have no interest on slowing down. There are a lot of people out here who are betting that this agency will perform when they call and we most certainly will,” Tony said.
Clark believes perhaps his underdog status will not go unnoticed.
“The world loves an underdog, Broward County loves an underdog. Broward is a great county with smart citizens and they were forced in the primary to deal with either Scott Israel or Greg Tony. Now they’ve got me.”
Tony has been working in law enforcement for years and was appointed to the position by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but his tenure has been fraught with tension between Tony and several unions that represent members of the agency.
Clark has no law enforcement experience, but said his experience in business and law puts him in the perfect position to run the agency.
“I promise you, I know more about the law and the legal aspects of the law and how to handle legal matters more than anybody in that building right now and anybody that’s ever been in that agency maybe other than a couple people.”
We asked Tony what he thought about that stance by his opponent. His answer? "Good luck with that."
Tony also called out the election as the “most racist and derogatory” that the agency has ever seen, referencing the attacks he faced during the lead up to the primary.
“This role is an elected role. It is a role that the people have an option to choose who they select as their sheriff. But I don’t think that this particular profession, as the chief law enforcement officer for a county of almost 2 million people who are counting on you to perform, when they call 911, when their families call 911, and there’s a moment when they’re vulnerable and need help, that they would care about the politics here,” Tony said.