Most of the time local candidates running for public office focus on their own experience and qualifications in campaign ads. But in recent weeks some of the ads have taken a decidedly different approach, leveling attacks against the opposition.
The mud-slinging has been most apparent in the race for the Republican Party’s candidate for sheriff in the general election.
Second-time sheriff candidate Gregory Bohannon, 50, has published multiple ads calling into question newcomer Cameron Coward’s conduct as a deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
Mr. Bohannon has claimed his 28-year-old opponent failed to fulfill the terms of a school security contract by not neatly maintaining an on-campus residence and received a reprimand from his superiors. Another ad said he was suspended for failing to submit evidence, and as a result, a criminal case was dismissed.
A third ad asserts that Mr. Coward was disciplined and placed under investigation numerous times by his employer.
Mr. Coward responded with his own message, which was repeated in the newspaper and at The Press’ candidate forum July 28, that the attack ads were “outright lies” and misleading. He also conveyed his commitment to running a clean campaign.