Three members of Congress who represent the Orlando area have endorsed Orange County Sheriff John Mina for reelection, according to Mina’s campaign.
Reps. Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto, all Democrats, announced on Thursday their endorsements for Mina, who is also a Democrat.
Mina, who previously served as the police chief for the city of Orlando, is running to serve his first full, four-year term as the county’s sheriff, after he was elected in 2018 to complete the last two years of now-Mayor Jerry Demings’ term.
Four other Democratic candidates and one Republican have filed to run against Mina for sheriff, according to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website, including the former Florida Highway Patrol Chief Joe Lopez, who Mina defeated 2018.
The deadline to qualify for the race is the second week in June.
“John’s 28 years in law enforcement have equipped him with the experience necessary to continue to run an effective and efficient Sheriff’s Office, where citizens are treated with dignity and respect,” Val Demings wrote in her endorsement.
Val Demings is also a former Orlando Police Department chief, where she worked directly with Mina, and the wife of Jerry Demings.
In her endorsement, Murphy cited a decrease in crime and juvenile arrests in Orange County since Mina was elected.
“I have worked with Sheriff Mina on various occasions and can attest to his professionalism, experience and dedication to protecting our community,” Murphy said in a statement.
Soto praised Mina for approaching the opioid crisis holistically and increasing partnerships with the community.
“He has engaged in critical outreach with the Hispanic Community and stepped up to help keep us healthy and safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Soto said in his endorsement.
Mina will first appear on Orange County ballots in a Democratic primary August 18.
If they qualify, Mina will face Lopez, as well as Andrew Darling, an assistant public defender in Orange County, and the former interim Eatonville Police Chief Eric McIntyre. Retired Orange County sheriff’s deputy Lou Minnis is the only candidate who filed as a Republican.
Mina has currently raised significantly more money than his opponents, with more than $220,000 contributed to his campaign, according to election filings. Lopez follows with almost $40,000, then Darling with about $12,000.