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Thursday, June 13, 2024
Alachua County Sheriff Candidates 2020
Alachua County Sheriff Candidates 2020

Sadie Darnell, Florida’s only female sheriff for more than 14 years, was unseated Tuesday night.

Darnell lost to challenger Clovis Watson Jr. Tuesday night by more than 18 percentage points. Since her election in 2006, Darnell had never lost a primary or election by fewer than 20 percentage points.

A few facts about Clovis Watson Jr.:

Watson, a 61-year-old legislator in the Florida House of Representatives, won Tuesday’s primary election for Alachua County Sheriff. He got 59.31 percent of the votes, which totaled to 23,017 votes. Here are some facts to know about the Democratic candidate.

Bio: Watson was born and raised in Alachua, Florida, and is a graduate of Santa Fe College’s Police Academy. Watson has a Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Alabama, a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Mountain State University and a master’s degree in business administration from North Central University.

He started working with the Alachua Police Department in 1983 and spent 20 years there, eventually becoming a sergeant and a deputy chief. Watson also served as Alachua City Manager for nearly 10 years, where he was responsible for hiring the police chief and managing the police department budget. Watson also was elected for the Florida House of Representatives in 2012. His last day will be Nov. 2.

Key issues:

-Emphasize community policing

-Increase ACSO’s engagement with individuals and nonprofit organizations

-Focus on de-escalating high-stress situations with help and counseling as a first resort before jail

-Require diversity training for officers and deputies

What’s next?

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Watson will advance to this November’s general election as the Democratic candidate against Robert Walter Brinkman, a non-party affiliated write-in candidate. The Alligator called Watson multiple times at two different numbers to discuss his win but was unable to reach him as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.

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