Communication Builds Our Community

Misleading Election Mail Blankets City, Implies Sheriff's Endorsement

Outside Political Committee Sent Postcards Backing Danny Krueger

Lake Wales voters have been receiving postcards from an out-of-town Political Action Committee that appear to falsely imply that Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has endorsed a candidate in the city commission District 4 race.

Judd said that's not the case.

The mailers feature a photo of Judd standing next to a grinning Danny Krueger, suggesting that Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is endorsing City Commissioner Danny Krueger's bid for re-election in Tuesday's vote.

"I'm not endorsing anyone," Judd said, "and I checked it to make sure it didn't say so."

News file photo

Thousands of copies of two postcards featuring Sheriff Grady Judd were mailed to Lake Wales voters by a Jensen Beach Political Action Committee. The cards imply that the sheriff has endorsed City Commissioner Danny Krueger's reelection. Judd says that is not the case.

Voters received similar postcards during Krueger's first run for the city commission two years ago, paid for by a different PAC. Judd also made clear at that time that he was not endorsing in any city elections.

Carol Gillespie, who is challenging Krueger in Tuesday's election, said she believes the mailers are misleading.

News file photo

City commission candidate Carol Gillespie replied to the cards by voicing her support for the Lake Wales Police Department, which provides law enforcement within the city limits.

"The Lake Wales Police Department has jurisdiction in this city," she said. "He should be standing with them. This suggests that there is a business relationship with the Sheriff's Department, and it would be the Lake Wales police who would be working with the commissioners."

The political action group sending the mailers to Lake Wales voters is identified as "Building a Brighter Future for Florida," based in Jensen Beach. The PAC is headed by Thomas Piccolo. Michael Millner serves as treasurer of the group, which has raised and spent well over $1.5 million in attempts to influence voters in a variety of Florida races. Most White voters contacted by Lake Wales News reported having received two different postcards from the PAC. Several Black voters reported that they had not received the mailings.

In response to an inquiry from the News, Gillespie said she supports the city's police officers.

"I am a big fan of the Lake Wales police, and I appreciate everything they do," said Gillespie, who lives in the Lake Ashton community on the city's northern boundary. "They come out immediately when we have to call them to our community."

Gillespie said she has been attending community meetings that seek to improve communications between residents and the police department.

"I think it's important that we have that communication, and for residents to express their concerns," she said.

Judd said he stands with any candidates who support law and order, and law enforcement, and he appreciates it when commissioners show their support publicly.

Krueger declined comment for this report.


Reader Comments(1)

Nonanita writes:

Krueger declines comment on everything and once again, did not show up today for a Public Forum with a time for voter questions, to which he had been invited. I guess he is confident that the numerous, expensive post cards being financed by an outside PAC of unknown donors, together with votes from the mayor’s church devotees, already ensure a victory. I hope he is wrong.