This article originally appeared on JoeHoft.com and was republished with permission.
Florida is livid. They want to know why Governor DeSantis passed up good candidates to pick a controversial candidate for Sheriff in their county.
The local St. Lucie press reported on the move this week.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointment of Lt. Keith Pearson to be sheriff after the abrupt resignation of longtime Sheriff Ken Mascara shocked local Republican leaders, who asked DeSantis to reconsider the decision.
DeSantis, a Republican, on Friday tapped Pearson the same day Mascara, a Democrat in his sixth term, notified the governor about his sudden retirement.
In a letter Mascara released Friday afternoon to the public, he cited ongoing “health issues.” Multiple attempts to reach Mascara for comment since Friday’s announcement were unsuccessful.
By Monday, Pearson had filed paperwork as part of running as a Republican in the 2024 sheriff’s election.
Kenny Nail, chairman of the St. Lucie County Republican Executive Committee, said he was “speechless.”
“Pearson’s name made no sense,” Nail said, adding he questioned how a lieutenant could be promoted past higher ranking individuals at the agency.
He said DeSantis’ office didn’t communicate with local party officials before Pearson’s appointment, which he said was unusual.
“Every state Legislator in this county is Republican, Toby Overdorf, Dana Trabulsy, Gayle Harrell, Erin Grall, all four of them are, and for him not to consult any of them or the chairman, something smells like fish,” Nail said.
A local GOP group in the county held a press conference to encourage DeSantis to change his pick. They ask why did DeSantis pick a controversial sheriff in their county.
Here is the local GOP members’ position:
We Demand the Removal of Sheriff Pearson! The new St. Lucie sheriff has been appointed by our governor with zero notice, no open applicant process skipping over higher ranked deputies, in what looks like a scheme by former sheriff Mascara to put his preferred guy as incumbent for the 2024 election. And the next business day after finding out 30 minutes before it was announced, Pearson filed to run for sheriff in 2024. Wow that’s quick. Did we mention the Florida Department of Law Enforcement report implicating Sheriff Pearson in a scheme to illegally influence the outcome of the 2020 sheriff election in St. Lucie. Why was Pearson, an employee under Sheriff Mascara, putting out campaign signs for Mascara’s opponent at the direction of Mascara himself?!?
From the FDLE Report: “On multiple instances from May 15, 2020 through November 3, 2020, Keith Pearson, knowingly conspired, confederated, abetted, and aided Ken Mascara while he was the incumbent St. Lucie County Sheriff and seeking re-election for said office in the 2020 election cycle, to facilitate Kevin Carter’s “ghost” candidacy in the 2020 St. Lucie County Sheriff race, to wit: asisting to create Carter’s campaign propaganda signs, which he assisted in placing through St. Lucie County. Keith Pearson performed said actions in order to assist Ken Mascara to siphon votes from established Republican candidate Rich Williams in the 2020 St. Lucie County Sheriff race.”
Here is the investigation into Pearson that started this year.