Jacobs fires back after Val Demings says she'll run for Orange County mayor



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County's mayor came out swinging moments after Orlando's former police chief, Val Demings, announced she wants to take her job.

But Mayor Teresa Jacobs said she's ready to defend her seat on Nov. 4 and she made it clear she's ready for a fight.

Within hours of Demings making her run for mayor official, Jacobs spoke at length and questioned if Demings even knows anything about the job.

Demings' only comment to Channel 9 on Tuesday came through a press release where she said she has grown "disappointed" with the forgotten promises of Orange County's administration.

"For months, I've been asked by countless citizens to run for Orange County mayor. They want a leader who will stand up for them. Like many of them, I too, have grown disappointed with the forgotten promises of the current administration. That's why I'm running for mayor," said Demings.

Jacobs wasted no time defending herself.

"No one is perfect, but I'm really proud of the record I've built," said Jacobs.

And Jacobs also questioned the qualifications of her new opponent, saying Demings' experience as Orlando's police chief doesn't cut it.

"I would not run for sheriff because I know I'm not qualified to be sheriff and I think qualification is an issue and it will be an issue in the race," said Jacobs.

Despite a loss to U.S. Rep. Dan Webster in a 2012 run for congress, Demings ran a strong race, according to WFTV political analyst Rick Fogelsong.

This time, however, there is no presidential race to help get voters to the polls, so Fogelsong thinks Demings will have to work extra hard to mobilize her supporters.

"And mobilize it around local issues, not Obamacare, not congressional-type issues, but local issues," he said.

Fogelsong said in that regard, Demings may not be off to a good start.

"The word on the street is that Val Demings has turned to Washington political consultants to aide her in this race, and I think that raises some questions about whether she has the right campaign strategy," he said.

Fogelsong said Demings needs to focus on connecting with people locally and raising money in central Florida.

So far, Jacobs has raised almost $500,000.

Demings will officially launch her campaign on Thursday at 3 p.m. at Lake Eola Park in Orlando.

Demings is married to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.