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Sheriff candidate: I pray for my opponent

Democratic sheriff candidate Scott Israel told a group of black pastors this afternoon at Word of the Living God in Pompano Beach that he is praying for his opponent Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti.

"I pray that he does the right thing and unhardens his heart,'' Israel explained in an interview.

Israel is ticked off about ads attacking him for his internal affairs record. He was the subject of 10 investigations while a Fort Lauderdale police officer in the 1980s. He was cleared of wrongdoing, but Lamberti has highlighted the fact that many of the files are missing. It wasn't unusual for departments to toss unsustained complaints at the time.

Israel met with a group of black pastors Friday afternoon to expand his outreach to black voters. A poll released earlier this week showed that Lamberti is ahead by 10 percentage points but Israel is far ahead among black voters. The poll was conducted by pollster Jim Kane for, a political blog.

Israel was non-plussed about the poll in part because he said it didn't reach people who only have cell phones.

"African-American voters are going to come out like never before,'' Israel said.

Pastor Allen Jackson of Living Word Community Church in Lauderhill urged fellow black pastors to spread the word about Israel at church Sunday.

"The last thing you say before you do that closing prayer is 'vote for Scott Israel for sheriff,''' he said. "Word of mouth travels further than a TV ad.''