Darnell cruises to win in Alachua County sheriff's race

Sheriff Sadie Darnell high-fives April Griffin at an election party in the Ashton subdivision in Gainesville on Tuesday.

Lee Ferinden/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:30 p.m.

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell was re-elected to a second full term on Tuesday night, with 83 percent of the vote.

“It feels wonderful to be validated,” Darnell, a Democrat, said on Tuesday night, after winning 91,032 votes. “It was a long, exhausting day with a great outcome.”

The challenger in the race, John Annarumma, running with no party affiliation, finished with 17,858 votes, or 16.3 percent. Tony Sims, the write-in candidate, captured 630 votes, or 2.3 percent.

Darnell said she appreciated the level of response and support from citizens, staff and her friends.

“I think having the past experience speaks volumes to people,” she said. “People saw my performance over time and saw my commitment to the office. I have fun and enjoy the campaign, but I take the job and the responsibility very seriously.”

She said she will continue with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office’s strategic plan already in place so the department can start the new year with a fresh, professional focus.

Darnell was at her house with about 100 friends and supporters when she heard about the victory. She said she is already looking forward to the next election.

“I absolutely plan to run again. My signs and T-shirts are going into storage,” she said. “I definitely plan for the future.”

Annarumma, a former Alachua County deputy, said he was glad he ran.

“I am not totally disappointed — knowing the name recognition Darnell has,” he said. “If I hadn’t run, it would have been a write-in and that’s it. The voters spoke and they chose my opponent.”

Annarumma said he planned to continue his work at Camp Blanding as an instructor, and said he might get back into law enforcement, but he doesn’t know what department he would potentially return to.

“I don’t think the current sheriff would entertain me going back (to ASO),” he said, adding that he doesn’t know if he’d ever try his hand at politics again.

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