FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – H. Wayne Clark is a Republican candidate running to become Broward’s top cop, except he isn’t a cop. The attorney held a news conference Monday, saying the Broward Sheriff’s Office needs improvement and he is the guy to do it.
What’s interesting is that three former Democratic candidates have crossed party lines and are now endorsing Clark is his November race for sheriff against incumbent Gregory Tony.
“I want the citizens of Broward County to know that we hear you,” Clark said Monday, making the case that Tony is just not cutting it. “Everything he’s done has been political — when it comes to hiring, when it comes to firing, when it comes to even having discussions with the union.”
Tony, appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis after Scott Israel was removed in the fallout from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shootings, defeated Israel in a tight race for the Democratic nomination two weeks ago.
Broward leans heavily Democratic, but Clark said that for the past year he’s been putting together a bipartisan safety advisory council, which he says is designed he says to fix what’s wrong with BSO.
“This race is not about democrats or republicans. This race is about fixing what’s broken here in the community,” he said. “This race is about moving forward and taking and making progress in Broward County to make Broward County safe.”
Speaking of removing politics from the equation, it’s been surprising to see three former Democratic candidates for sheriff — Willie Jones, Al Pollock and Santiago Vazquez — join the safety advisory council and cross party lines to support Clark.
“We are supporting Mr. Clark because he is the right person for the job,” Pollock said. “The person behind us that is currently in this building who is serving as a temporary sheriff does not belong here. ... He’s not qualified to and he should be removed.”
“Its not about being Democrat or being Republican, we need to make sure that we put the right person in office,” Vazquez added.
Charles Watley, who is also running for sheriff with no party affiliation, says Clark is simply a construction attorney with failed leadership.
Watley also commented on Tony being under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Tony’s campaign manager Jerrick Grant released a statement Monday, saying: “Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony is honored to be chosen by the Democratic voters to be their nominee for Sheriff. He will continue to combat police brutality and bring greater accountability to the Broward Sheriff’s Office and provide the highest quality of public safety to the residents of Broward County. Sheriff Tony’s campaign is focused on defeating his conservative Republican opponent in November.”