Val Demings drops out of Orange County mayoral race

Demings served as Orlando police chief for 5 years

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings announced Tuesday that she has dropped out of the race for Orange County Mayor against incumbent Republican Teresa Jacobs.

"I am humbled by and grateful for the support I have received from every corner of our county," said Demings, a Democrat.  "After careful analysis, I have determined that this is just not the right race at this time."

It's not known what the future holds for Demings.

"There are many ways to contribute to my community," Demings said.  "My commitment to the place I call home didn't begin with this campaign and certainly doesn't end with it.  I will continue to explore ways to make our great county a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family."

Demings gave no other explanation for her decision to bow out of the race, which shocked Jacobs.

"I certainly respect her decision to do that," Jacobs said in a quickly prepared news conference.  "My campaign is still absolutely committed to moving ahead full steam."

Demings entered the race in January on a public safety and education-improvement platform. She was also coming off her most-successful month of fundraising, bringing in more than $60,000 in April.

Even before she announced she was running for county mayor, some political analysts speculated Demings was on the short list for Charlie Crist's running mates in his quest to take back the governor's mansion.

Crist's campaign hasn't said whether she is still on that list or when an announcement would come.

The nonpartisan primary for county mayor is set for August.

Demings served as Orlando's police chief -- the first woman to hold the position -- from 2007 to 2011.

Demings also ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011 but lost against Daniel Webster.

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