By Jack Phillips
A top Democrat in Palm Beach County, Florida, endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis for governor by saying there is “too much on the line” during the 2022 midterms.
“Endorsing Gov. @RonDeSantisFL was the obvious choice this election cycle. Gov. DeSantis’ Dem opponent has called for reallocation of resources away from law enforcement. FL cannot afford people like Charlie Crist who wants to defund the police & make our communities less safe,” Dave Kerner, the commissioner of Palm Beach County as well as its former mayor, wrote on Twitter this week.
DeSantis is running against Democrat Charlie Crist, the former governor of Florida, in the state’s gubernatorial race.
Kerner further stated that his endorsement was, in part, driven by Crist’s comments that he plans to reallocate funds to instead deploy mental health professionals to assist police on domestic violence calls. Republicans say that such a move would be akin to defunding the police—a common refrain that was used during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and riots.
He included a video of a press conference in which he spoke alongside DeSantis, giving the Republican governor his endorsement.
“Every day until Nov. 8th, I will campaign for Gov. DeSantis, and on Nov. 8th, I will vote for Gov. DeSantis,” Kerner said at the Police Benevolent Association in West Palm Beach. “I will not remain silent. There is too much on the line in this election,” he added.
DeSantis also spoke at the event and targeted the Democrats’ “anti-police movement.”
“We are focused on protecting victims and not coddling criminals, and no one knows that better than Dave, who served Florida’s communities. Commissioner Kerner knows first-hand the threat of the ‘defund the police’ movement and understands the important role that our local law enforcement officers play in keeping Florida safe,” he said.
Palm Beach County is the third-most-populous county in Florida. In 2020, President Joe Biden won about 56 percent of the votes in the county, according to election data.
Crist, who was the governor of Florida between 2007 and 2011, was a member of the Republican Party before he became an independent in 2010. He later switched to the Democratic Party in 2012 before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat in 2016.
In late August, Crist resigned from his House seat to focus on his 2022 gubernatorial campaign. Florida’s now-vacant 13th District will remain without a representative until the November election. Former President Donald Trump-backed Republican candidate Anna Paulina Luna and former Obama administration official Eric Lynn, a Democrat, are vying for the seat.