Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has picked up a critical endorsement in South Florida — from a Democrat.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Dave Kerner, a Democrat, endorsed the Republican incumbent on Tuesday, saying in a statement that backing DeSantis over his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist, “was not a difficult choice for me.”
“Governor, I’m very proud that you felt that my endorsement was worthy of acceptance, and I’m so delighted that we have this opportunity to be here in public, in the community, to make it official,” Kerner said, according to The Floridian, a conservative website.
“This was not a difficult choice for me,” Kerner added while appearing with DeSantis at a Police Benevolent Association event in West Palm Beach. “Governor DeSantis has demonstrated himself beyond worthy of the duties of this office. And he has done so with the level of dignity, purpose, and respect that is lost in the public sphere today.”
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“It may come as a shock to many of you or many of my friends that a Democratic elected officer in deep blue Palm Beach County endorses a Republican governor. But I will not remain silent. There is too much on the line in this election,” Kerner added
Kerner, a former police officer in the city of Alachua, reportedly was concerned that Crist had adopted his party’s “defund the police” rhetoric.
“The Governor’s Democratic opponent has already started talking about reallocation, which to me, by the way, is a code word for taking resources away from the men and women that protect us. It’s a code word for defunding the police,” Kener said.
In a statement, DeSantis said, “Florida is a law-and-order state because we put the safety of Floridians first and we stand up for law enforcement and reject the Left’s 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.”
This is not the first time Kerner, who also served as county mayor of Palm Beach County, has rallied for DeSantis.
In April 2021, as The Free Press reported at the time, Kerner stood by DeSantis after “60 Minutes” did a hit piece on the governor, claiming in a selectively edited segment that DeSantis granted Publix Super Markets exclusive authority to distribute coronavirus vaccines to senior citizens not in nursing homes in Palm Beach County in exchange for the grocery chain making a $100,000 contribution to DeSantis’ campaign.
Kerner ripped the report by “60 Minutes” as “intentionally false,” adding that “‘60 Minutes’ should be ashamed.”