Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings is about to make it official that he will resign that post before the end of the year so that he can qualify for the ballot in his quest to become Orange County mayor.
His campaign announced Thursday morning that he would file his notice of resigning at noon Thursday. His resignation from the sheriff’s office would take effect in early December, on the date of the mayoral swearing-in ceremony, regardless of whether Demings wins the mayoral election.
That move not only allows him to qualify for the ballot under resign-to-run laws, but officially opens up the Orange County sheriff’s position to a 2018 election. Demings was just elected to a third term in 2016, so the office normally would not have come up for another election until 2020.
Already four people are running for the sheriff’s job, including Orlando Police Chief John Mina, former Florida Highway Patrol Chief Joe Lopez, Eric McIntyre and Darryl Sheppard. The position and election are partisan. McIntyre and Sheppard are both Democrats, and will meet in the August 28 primary if they both qualify for the ballot. Mina, registered as a Democratic voter, is running as an independent. Lopez, also a registered Democrat, initially filed to run as a Democrat but would have to switch to independent to qualify for the ballot because he changed his status too late in 2017 to qualify for the ballot as a Democrat. No Republicans have filed for the post.
The quartet all filed to run in 2020, and would have to update their paperwork once Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles calls for a 2018 election to replace Demings.
In the mayor’s race, Demings is up against Orange County Commissioner Pete Clarke, who also would have to resign to run in order to qualify for the ballot, entrepreneur Rob Panepinto, and three minor candidates candidates. The mayor’s position and election are non-partisan.