Pete Antonacci, Florida “elections police” chief, dies of heart attack

“Pete was beyond a shadow of a doubt one of the finest people I have ever had the honor of knowing,” said Steve Vancore, a political consultant who first met Antonacci in 1997. “He wasn’t just a jack-of-all-trades, but was an organizational master who understood how to bring out the best in people. Florida was lucky beyond measure to have him as long as we did.”
DeSantis appointed him on July 6 to his new job, saying at the time he was confident would lead the newly created agency “with integrity and ensure that Florida’s elections are the most secure in the nation.”
Critics, however, derided the new office as the “elections police,” saying it wasn’t necessary because of laws already in place.
Its first official action was to announce the arrest of 20 Floridians convicted of murder and sex crimes who were accused of voting illegally.
Pete Antonacci, a former deputy attorney general for former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles whom other governors called upon to fix serious problems in their administration, died of a heart attack while at work early Friday afternoon. He was 74.


Antonacci’s latest post was as director of the newly created Office of Elections Crimes and Security, which the Legislature created this year at the prompting of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“He was a dedicated, tenacious, and assiduous public servant, lawyer, and respected professional – a friend to all in the State of Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement.

“He vigilantly sought to uphold the law throughout his lengthy career as a Deputy Attorney General, Statewide Prosecutor, General Counsel, Supervisor of Elections, and most recently as the newly appointed watchdog over Florida’s election security. His fighting passion will be missed, and his legacy will persist in the hearts and minds of many.”
Antonacci had a long career in Florida government, including as the Broward County supervisor of elections, a deputy attorney general and statewide prosecutor.

“Pete was beyond a shadow of a doubt one of the finest people I have ever had the honor of knowing,” said Steve Vancore, a political consultant who first met Antonacci in 1997. “He wasn’t just a jack-of-all-trades, but was an organizational master who understood how to bring out the best in people. Florida was lucky beyond measure to have him as long as we did.

”
DeSantis appointed him on July 6 to his new job, saying at the time he was confident would lead the newly created agency “with integrity and ensure that Florida’s elections are the most secure in the nation.”
Critics, however, derided the new office as the “elections police,” saying it wasn’t necessary because of laws already in place.


Its first official action was to announce the arrest of 20 Floridians convicted of murder and sex crimes who were accused of voting illegally.

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