Mere minutes after the news was announced that Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco won the Republican nomination in today’s primary, he was already getting his supporters revved up for the next leg of his push to stay on the job for a full four-year term.
“Pasco County has come out overwhelmingly to say: They love the sheriff’s office. They love the direction that the sheriff’s office is going, and they want us to continue to move forward,” Nocco told a crowd of supporters at a party in Odessa.
The Pasco Supervisor of Elections Office reports that 85.25 percent of people who cast ballots in the primary voted for Nocco.
Nocco soundly defeated the two other Republican contenders for sheriff: Maurice Radford and Roger Fortney.
Radford had more than 25 years in at the sheriff’s office before he resigned last year. He last served as a major in the road patrol division. He netted 8.6 percent of the primary vote.
Fortney earned 6 percent of the primary vote.
“This is like being in a locker room after a game,” Nocco, a former collegiate football player, told his supporters. “You’re seeing a lot of people are hungry, and you look around and see the look in each other's eyes and you say: We did it. We pulled together as a team. I can tell you we got one more game to play."
Nocco ended his address to his supporters with this message:
"This is our victory night, enjoy it," he said. "But get ready, because we got practice again tomorrow."
Nocco now faces Democrat Kim Bogart in the Nov. 6 general election. Bogart is a former captain with the sheriff’s office.
Bogart has 31 years’ experience in law enforcement. He held command positions at the sheriff’s office for 16 years. During the 2008 primary election, he gave then-Sheriff Bob White a run for his money, netting 48 percent of the vote.
Bogart said he would bring a wide range of experience of working with different sectors to the job. He said he’s shown a commitment to his community and law enforcement.
“My entire focus would be about public safety, not politics,” he said Tuesday night.
Nocco said he’s been the sheriff for over a year now and thinks the voters like the direction the agency has been moving. He was appointed to the office by Gov. Rick Scott following White’s retirement from the job last year.
“Talk about experience, I’m the only candidate who has been sheriff,” Nocco said.
Speaking of experience, White was the person to announce Nocco’s victory in the primary.
White was also the man who hired Nocco in 2009 and said “it’s a thrill” to see his rise.
“We want our communities to be safe, and we want to get behind the man that can do that going forward and Chris Nocco is that man," White said.