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Martin County Sheriff William Snyder won't run for reelection

Snyder, elected sheriff in 2012, says on social media he 'will return to private life'
Posted at 11:39 AM, Mar 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-06 17:00:08-05

STUART, Fla. — After serving as Martin County sheriff for more than a decade, William Snyder announced Wednesday he will not run for reelection this year.

In a social media post, Snyder said he will not seek a fourth term in office and will instead "return to private life."

"Serving you as sheriff has been the absolute honor of a lifetime," Snyder wrote. "The Good Book says for everything there is a season and my 52 years of public service is coming to an end. I will not seek a fourth term in office."

Snyder, 71, elaborated on his decision during a news conference later in the afternoon.

"I knew the time was right," he said. "I knew that this sheriff's office would be better served by a younger generation of leaders."

Snyder was elected sheriff in 2012. Before that, he served six years in the Florida House of Representatives and also spent 20 years with the Miami-Dade Police Department.

While in the state legislature, Snyder was chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

WATCH: Martin County sheriff says he won't seek reelection

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder says he won't seek reelection

"If it was about me, I wouldn't leave," Snyder said. "I love doing this. But we'll be better off here if I step away now and let somebody else fill that gap."

State Attorney Tom Bakkedahl said he's worked with Snyder for 30 years. He prosecuted some of his first homicide cases when Snyder was a captain.

He also appreciated Snyder's support for his office when the sheriff was a lawmaker in Tallahassee.

"You know, there are some people [who] have such strong sense of integrity that when you're with them, you know. You know what I mean?" Bakkedahl said. "You don't have to look for integrity in some people. It just simply is."

In his social media post, Snyder said Chief Deputy John Budensiek intends to run for sheriff in the November election, and Snyder plans to endorse him.

"John is a family man first and a fearless public servant," Snyder wrote. "I will endorse him and work with all my energy to help him become your next sheriff. He has been with me for nearly 25 years and worked his way through the ranks to his current position. I believe you will be in extraordinary hands with Chief Budensiek should you trust him with this office."

Martin County Chief Deputy John Budensiek talks about being endorsed by Sheriff William Snyder, March 6, 2024
Martin County Chief Deputy John Budensiek talks about being endorsed by Sheriff William Snyder as Snyder's preferred successor, March 6, 2024, outside the Martin County Sheriff's Office in Stuart, Fla.

"It also puts a tremendous amount of pressure on me," Budensiek said. "I'm keenly aware, again, of how effective his administration has been and how important it's going to be for me to move this agency forward into the future."

Whether this succession plan works will ultimately be up to the voters, but the sheriff said he wants the office to continue to do what it always does — keeping the residents of Martin County safe.

When asked what he plans to do next, Snyder said he plans to take a break but then get back into public service, not ruling out a congressional or legislative run.

Snyder isn't the only Treasure Coast sheriff to recently leave his position.

St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara announced his sudden retirement last December, telling staff members in a letter that he's been "dealing with some health issues this past year."

Mascara was replaced by Keith Pearson, who had most recently served as a lieutenant in the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, overseeing school security.