ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Retired SWAT commander Tom Stroup has dropped out of the race for Orange County sheriff, News 6 confirmed Sunday.
Stroup, who was running as a Republican on the ballot but said he wanted a nonpartisan election, believes he doesn't have the time to run an effective campaign, the candidate said in a statement on his campaign page.
As I write this letter my first thoughts are how grateful I am for all of the unbelievable support from my family my friends and the citizens of Orange County. After much prayer and discussion with my wife, my family and my friends I have decided that I will not continue my bid for the office of Orange County Sheriff. My wife and I are very involved and committed to several community volunteer programs in addition to our family commitments and do not currently have the required time to dedicate to an effective election campaign. I will however, continue to pursue other opportunities to serve my community in public service. Once again, thank you for all of your support. I would also like to extend the best of luck to the remaining candidates.
Stroup called his Democratic opponent Joe Lopez Saturday night, informing him of his decision. Lopez called him a class act and a "real gentleman."
Stroup served with the Orange County Sheriff's Office for 32 years and announced his decision to run in January.
Although a virtual unknown to Orange County voters, Stroup initially said he was ready to take on candidates with more name recognition, including Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
Mina said Sunday afternoon that "Tom is a good man" and wished him well.
Lopez, a retired Florida Highway Patrol major, in now up against Mina, who is running without party affiliation.
Current Sheriff Jerry Demings announced last summer he is running for Orange County mayor. If elected, he would replace Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who cannot run again due to term limits.
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