Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, seeking to build momentum in anticipation of a likely Republican primary fight from former Rep. Holly Benson in the race for attorney general, is touting the endorsements of 14 Florida sheriffs. They include David Morgan, sheriff in Escambia County, which includes Benson's hometown of Pensacola.
Among the other notables supporting Kottkamp are Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti (appointed to his post by Gov. Charlie Crist, following Ken Jenne's resignation); Duval's John Rutherford; Pasco's Bob White; and Sheriff Mike Scott in Kottkamp's home county of Lee (Fort Myers/Cape Coral).
The other sheriffs represent Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, Flagler, Hardee, Holmes, Nassau, Santa Rosa and Seminole counties. Endorsements by sheriffs are highly prized in statewide races, but particularly by candidates for attorney general, who emphasize their support for strong law enforcement measures.
An historical footnote: Bob Butterworth used his network of sheriff contacts as the ex-sheriff of Broward County as a springboard to his election as AG in 1986. It's largely forgotten that he got in the race very late and was given little chance of winning against then-state Sen. Edgar Dunn of Ormond Beach.
-- Steve Bousquet