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T.K. Waters leads sheriff race in new UNF poll

Jacksonville sheriff candidates Democrat Lakesha Burton and Republican T.K. Waters
Will Brown
Jacksonville Today
Jacksonville sheriff candidates Lakesha Burton and T.K. Waters.

T.K. Waters, the Republican candidate for Jacksonville sheriff, leads Democratic opponent Lakesha Burton by 5 points in a poll released Monday.

The poll by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida shows Waters with 48% of the vote and Burton with 43%. But 9% — enough to sway the outcome — said they did not know how they would vote or they did not answer.

Early in-person voting is underway, and Election Day is Nov. 8.

“This race has gotten a lot tighter since the first election back in August when T.K. Waters came in with a 14-point lead,” commented Michael Binder, faculty director of the research lab and a UNF professor of political science. “It’s important to note that a good portion (12%) of likely Democrat voters either don’t know or refused to say who they’re voting for, and if they end up voting party lines, it could boost Burton’s chances.”

QUIZ: How well do you know the Jacksonville sheriff candidates?

The poll of likely voters was conducted Oct. 20-27 by telephone. The margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points.

Waters garnered 46.7% of the vote and Burton 32.8% in a special election between five candidates on Aug. 23. Since no candidates received more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers face off Nov. 8.

Randy comes to Jacksonville from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, where, as metro editor, he led investigative coverage of the Parkland school shooting that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for public service. He has spent more than 40 years in reporting and editing positions in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and Florida. You can reach Randy at or on Twitter, @rroguski.