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Lee sheriff’s race to step off with partisan primary

By Staff | Jul 14, 2020

Incumbent Sheriff Carmine Marceno

The Lee County Sheriff’s race will appear on the Aug. 18 Primary Election ballot – for voters who have registered their party affiliation as Republican – and the Nov. 3 General Election ballot.

The primary in August has two Republican candidates, incumbent Sheriff Carmine Marceno and James A. Leavens, a major and watch commander with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office until his retirement.

Florida is a closed primary election state. As such, only voters who are registered members of political parties may vote for respective party candidates or nominees for an office during a primary election.

The top Republican vote-getter will advance to the general in November and face three new candidates: Carmen McKinney, no party affiliation; Robert Neeld, Democrat; and Coach Ray, no party affiliation.

Leavens and Marceno were asked what the community could expect under their leadership.

James A. Leavens

“The citizens, visitors and communities of Lee County can expect to continue to have one of the lowest crime rates in the state of Florida,” Marceno said. “See the expansion of existing programs, such as my ‘Safe Kids-Safe Schools’ initiative, as well as my continued commitment to hold career criminals accountable. Everyday, I will work diligently to safeguard lives and property, respectfully enforce the laws of the land and work cooperatively to lessen the impact of crime on the lives of residents and visitors.

“Working together with local law enforcement agencies, (I will) continue the fight against opioid dealers – drug dealers will be held accountable – and hold to a zero tolerance of abuse and cruelty of any kind, including elderly, child or animal,” he continued. “(I will) remain laser focused in our community policing through our Community Response Unit and our Real Time Crime Center.”

“Our citizens will continue to see my leadership in keeping our families safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, while remaining available and transparent to the public,” Marceno added. “Southwest Florida is a wonderful place to live, work, play and raise our families. I am committed to keeping Lee County the paradise it has become.”

Leavens also responded to the questions posed.

“The first thing that’s going to happen the minute I get into the agency is I’m going to realign the manpower,” he said. “We have too many people – upper echelon – sitting in cushy offices. Right off the bat, I’m going to realign the agency to get more boots on the street.

Carmen McKinney

“Through attrition, as those upper echelon positions leave the agency, I’m probably not going to filling a lot of them,” Leavens continued. “For each one of them that retire, I can hire three more deputies on the street without a nickel expense to the taxpayers.

“I am the only pro-life Republican candidate, my family’s pro-faith,” he added. “I can’t wait to get in the office and put my spin on things and take charge”

For the full “Candidate Bios and Questionnaires” provided by Leavens and Marceno, along with those of McKinney, Neeld and Ray, visit www.cape-coral-daily-breeze.com/page/content.detail/id/675595/Lee-County-Sheriff-Races–Republican-Primary-and-General-Election-candidates.html?nav=5155.

Robert Neeld

Coach Ray