Tom Stroup, a retired police captain, is withdrawing from the Orange County Sheriff’s race.

He made the announcement on Facebook over the weekend.

Stroup was the only Republican in the race. His withdrawal will leave Orlando Police Chief John Mina and retired Florida Highway Patrol Major Jose “Joe” Lopez as the only current candidates. Both Mina and Lopez are registered Democrats, but each changed from Republican last year. 

Mina officially is running as an independent in the partisan election, and Lopez is expected to also switch to an independent run.


Stroup, 60, retired in 2015 after 30 years of service. He entered the race in January to succeed Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, who is running for Orange County mayor. He’ll have to resign his current post, opening up a special election for sheriff.

Stroup said he is leaving the race so he and his family can focus on community activities.

“As I write this letter my first thoughts are how grateful I am for all of the unbelievable support from my family my friends and the citizens of Orange County. After much prayer and discussion with my wife, my family, and my friends I have decided that I will not continue my bid for the office of Orange County Sheriff,” he wrote. “My wife and I are very involved and committed to several community volunteer programs in addition to our family commitments and do not currently have the required time to dedicate to an effective election campaign.

“I will, however, continue to pursue other opportunities to serve my community in public service. Once again, thank you for all of your support. I would also like to extend the best of luck to the remaining candidates.”

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