Orlando Police Chief John Mina and retired Florida Highway Patrol Chief Jose “Joe” Lopez each reported modest fundraising in their campaigns for Orange County Sheriff during the first two weeks since the Aug. 28 primary election.

Neither of them were on the ballot in that primary election because both are running as independent candidates for the partisan Orange County Sheriff’s job. Going into that reporting period, covering Sept. 1-14, Mina had a commanding lead in campaign cash as Lopez’s campaign fundraising slowed considerably after a strong early start last winter.

In the latest report, filed Friday, Mina, of Ocoee, reported raising $6,100 during the most recent period, bringing his total raised to $192,593, and his cash-on-hand total to $120,300.

Lopez, of Orlando, reported raising $4,825 in the first two weeks of September, bringing his total raised to $66,792, and leaving him with $29,960 in the bank.

The third candidate in the race is the only partisan in the field, Democrat Darryl Sheppard of Orlando. However, Sheppard, with no professional law enforcement background bad news reports about his arrest history, has not mounted much of a campaign. So even though he is listed on the Democrats’ election ticket, he has never established much fundraising, and has filed campaign finance waivers, indicating little or no money activity since late June. In his last report he had $12,394 in the bank.

Mina and Lopez both changed their voter registrations to become Democrats last year but both did so after a deadline preventing them from running as Democrats this year.

They seek to be elected to a two-year term to succeed Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, who was elected Orange County Mayor in the August election.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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