FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony claimed victory in the Democratic primary for the office after a, sometimes nasty, race for the nomination.
“This has been a great privilege for me to be the first African American sheriff to be appointed here. But make no mistake, there’s not a greater honor then being chosen by the people of this community,” said Tony.
Tony squeaking past bitter rival, former Sheriff Scott Israel, by just two points to win the Democratic nomination in the race for sheriff.
Israel was Broward’s sheriff for six years until he was removed from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis for his handling of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre. Tony is reaching out to Israel supporters and those who did not vote for him.
“I understand their sentiments behind having a sheriff who had been elected into this office twice, who had won with some astonishing numbers and figures, showing a high level of confidence that the community wanted him here but at the same time, the community again has spoken and it’s my time to be here,” said Tony.
Not so fast. He still faces Republican challenger, Plantation attorney H. Wayne Clark.
“I’m just coming here to fix it. I want to fix the mess,” said Clark.
Clark has no law enforcement experience but said he has what it takes to boost morale and run the massive agency.
“I have military experience, I have legal experience, I have business experience. 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, anybody that’s ever been in that agency, maybe other than a couple of people,” he said.
“I think that’s a bold statement,” said Tony.
Both Tony and Clark agree that this race should not be partisan.
“This patch on my shoulder says Broward County. There’s no division in that. It’s not a division for those who vote for me or not vote for me. It’s most certainly not a division about party affiliations, the color of your skin, sexual preferences, or anything that makes us different as a people,” said Tony.
“We’ve had in the last 24 hours a number of people on the other side saying we’re ready to take politics away from BSO, we’re ready to run it like a business organization. We’re ready to see it shine again, we’re tired of the scandals, we’re tired of the negativity,” said Clark.
Tony and Clark vow battle for the votes they need to win the November election.