By BETHANY BLANKLEY
THE CENTER SQUARE CONTRIBUTOR
(The Center Square) – A top Democrat in Palm Beach County, Florida, has endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis for governor less than two months from Election Day.
Palm Beach County Commissioner David Kerner announced in a news conference he was not only endorsing Gov. DeSantis for reelection but was also campaigning for him every day until Nov. 8.
“Every day until Nov. 8th, I will campaign for Gov. DeSantis,” Mr. Kerner said. “And on Nov. 8th, I will vote for Gov. DeSantis,” He said he “proudly endorsed” the governor for reelection and “as an aside I’m very proud” that the governor “felt my endorsement was worthy of acceptance.”
“This was not a difficult choice for me,” Mr. Kerner added. “This was not the proverbial lesser of two evils. Gov. DeSantis has demonstrated himself to be beyond worthy of the humble 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.”
The county commissioner added that, despite being a Democrat, he could “not remain silent” about endorsing the Republican governor.
“There is too much on the line in this election,” he said. “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.”
The Palm Beach County Democratic Party didn’t immediately respond to request for comment about Mr. Kerner’s endorsement. They also didn’t issue a statement after he made the endorsement.
Palm Beach County is the third-most-populated county in Florida. In 2020, President Joe Biden won the county by 56%.
The former Republican governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, is running against Gov. DeSantis as a Democrat. Mr. Crist’s platform includes an extensive plan to ban the sale of assault weapons in Florida, implement a range of gun laws, and create a neighborhood policing initiative.
Mr. Crist supports universal background checks for all gun sales, banning the sale of so-called ghost guns, cracking down “on straw purchases, corrupt gun dealers, gun thefts and bulk gun purchases,” implementing a law to require gun owners to report the theft or loss of their firearms, and creating a “Focused Deterrence” community policing program. He also wants to strengthen Red Flag laws, firearm safe storage laws, deny the sale of firearms to domestic abusers, repeal Tallahassee’s Community Safety Pre-Emption law, lengthen the waiting period to purchase firearms, create an Office of Gun Violence Prevention, among other initiatives.
None of his stated proposals include increasing funding for police departments, expanding police services or prioritizing hiring more law enforcement officers.
By contrast, Gov. DeSantis and the state legislature have implemented a range of incentives that have resulted in Florida continuing to recruit more police officers, corrections officers, and others in law enforcement, including recruiting others from out of state.
After Kerner spoke, Gov. DeSantis said, “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.”