Sheriff accused of pressuring candidates to drop races
TITUSVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A third candidate for public office has come to forward to say a sheriff on Florida’s Space Coast offered help in getting a job in exchange for leaving a race and backing his favored candidate.
Kimberly Musselman, an assistant state attorney in Brevard County, told Florida Today she was asked by Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey to bow out of her race for county judge and endorse a candidate backed by him. In exchange, the sheriff said he could use his influence to help her become the district’s top prosecutor, she said.
After she refused, Ivey urged some of her biggest donors to drop their support, Musselman told Florida Today.
“My donors dried up real quick,” Musselman said.
In response to an inquiry Wednesday, Tod Goodyear, a spokesperson for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, said in an email, “We are not commenting at this time.”
Two other candidates for public office have made similar allegations to Florida Today.
Cocoa Beach police officer Chris Hattaway said the Republican sheriff asked him to step aside for former state Rep. Tom Goodson, another candidate in a county commission race. Shawn Overdorf, a former school resource officer, told a similar story about his race for school board. In exchange, both candidates were offered jobs in Goodson’s office if he won, Florida Today reported.
When contacted by Florida Today, Goodson denied involvement with any efforts to pressure candidates out of the election and said he had not spoken with Ivey about hiring anyone.
Ivey has gained national attention in recent years due to his weekly “ Wheel of Fugitive ” videos which feature the sheriff spinning a wheel with photos of 10 of the county’s most wanted.
“Everybody watches it. Even the fugitives watch it” to see who becomes “fugitive of the week,” said Ivey, who was elected sheriff in 2012.