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Race For St. Johns County Sheriff Gets Serious With Shoar's Retirement Announcement

Photos via Reynolds and Hardwick campaigns
Graphic by WJCT's Bill Bortzfield
Rob Harwick (left) and Chris Strickland. A photo of Tom Reynolds was unavailable at the time of this story's publishing.

Now that St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar has confirmed will not seek a fourth term in office, attention is turning to who will replace him.

St. Augustine Beach Police Chief Rob Hardwick announced his candidacy this week.

"After months of consideration and with the support of my family, I am excited to formally announce my candidacy for St. Johns County Sheriff," said Hardwick in an email to WJCT News.

Hardwick, a Republican, has been St. Augustine Beach’s police chief since 2013.

His background also includes service with the 7thJudicial Circuit State Attorney's Office, the St. Augustine Police Department, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office and the Florida Department of Corrections in a law enforcement career that spans 26 years.

He joins Chris Strickland, also a Republican, who announced his candidacy back in January.

Strickland was a longtime member of the St. Johns Sheriff’s Department who chose to resign 27 years into his career, according to a brief interview with the St. Augustine Record.

Over the years, Strickland held positions that included director, commander, lieutenant and sergeant; according to his campaign website.

Tom Reynolds, who has no party affiliation, announced his candidacy last year.  A check of the St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections website showed he hasn’t reported any campaign contributions as of Thursday morning, Sept. 12.

Neither had Reynolds.  Strickland has reported raising $138,551 for his campaign.

As for the incumbent sheriff, Shoar told WJCT News partner News4Jax, "It’s time for me to exit stage left and let the next generation take it over." 

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.