Tony Fernandez

Tony Fernandez, who ran for Osceola County Sheriff, speaks to his supporters at El Paraiso Restaurant in Kissimmee, Florida on Tuesday.

Luis Tony Fernandez’s bid to become Osceola County's first-ever elected Latino sheriff ended early Tuesday evening.

The Osceola County Sheriff Deputy lost to Russell Gibson in the Democratic Primary. Gibson collected 45 percent of the votes while Fernandez got 26.6 percent.

“It was a tough race,” Fernandez said shortly after hearing he didn’t win. “There was a lot of great candidates, and the votes were divided."

Fernandez said he wanted to bring diversity into community because the sheriff’s office doesn’t represent Osceola County's Latinos or women.

Fernandez and Jose Sanchez Garcia were among the Latino candidates running for Sheriff, and both ran on the Democratic ticket. Garcia received 3,979 votes which only accounted to 22 percent of the vote.

This election had the most Hispanic candidates in Osceola county, with five of them running for Sheriff. According to the US Census Bureau, Hispanics make up 51 percent of Osceola County's population as of 2015.

Fernandez said he wanted to introduce a community advisory board, adding that he felt it was the best way to unite the citizens and the Sheriff's Office.

Despite not winning on Tuesday, many of Fernandez's supporters felt their voices were heard no matter the outcome.

Omar Vargas, a Kissimmee native, said the Latino community made noise in the primaries, but wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the election. Vargas did mention that he hopes the outcome of the race could rally the Latino community to push for future change.

“He deserved to go further,” Vargas said. “We’re going to move forward and continue to help people out. Since the moment I heard he was running, I thought it was awesome and did as much as I could to help him win by knocking on doors and getting the word out.”

Another of his supporters expressed shock after hearing Fernandez did not win the Democratic Primary.

Tacha Smith, 47, expressed her disappointment saying Fernandez’s integrity made him the ideal candidate.

“I don’t know him personally. I met him at a Martin Luther King rally parade in Kissimmee and when I was speaking to him, he was not trying to get my vote. He was just speaking to me on how he’ll make Osceola County better, and that’s fantastic,” Smith said.

Smith said that Fernandez is a man of character and integrity.

"He was full of kindness," Smith said, "I liked that he was going out to the local mosques, trying to get to know the community, and that’s something no other candidate did. He has a heart for the community, for the people that live in Osceola."

When Fernandez was asked about making a potential run again for Sheriff, he said he doesn’t plan to make a future run. He intends to go back to work on Monday as a deputy for the Osceola County Sheriff’s office.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.