32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

County’s Republican voters get to pick our next sheriff


A candidate with no law enforcement experience and no party affiliation has blocked more than half of the county’s 119,678 registered voters from having any say in who becomes the next sheriff.

The result: The county’s 55,288 registered Republicans will choose between Sheriff’s Maj. Eric Flowers, Fellsmere Police Chief Keith Touchberry, Indian River Shores Public Safety Director Rich Rosell and retired Sheriff’s Capt. Chuck Kirby in the Republican primary.

The winner will run against – and almost surely easily defeat – political newcomer Deborah Cooney on Nov. 3 in a race to replace Sheriff Deryl Loar, who is retiring when he concludes his third term in January. 

Cooney, a 57-year-old Brown University graduate and former bank executive, closed August’s four-man Republican primary for sheriff last week when she paid the $5,500 fee to qualify as a no party affiliation candidate in November’s general election.

Her surprising candidacy – Cooney was expected to drop out after failing to submit the necessary 1,134 valid signatures to get on the ballot via petition – means that the county’s 62,667 Democratic Party and independent voters will not be allowed to vote in the Aug. 18 Republican primary.

For all practical purposes, this means only Republicans get to pick our county’s next Sheriff.

“My candidacy does not close the GOP primary,” Cooney wrote in an interview conducted via email. “Anyone can vote in the Republican primary for sheriff and other local offices by registering as a Republican before July 19. I may do this myself.”

Cooney, who in February filed to run as a Democrat, will be the longest of longshots in November, regardless of her opponent. It is likely many voters will find it difficult to take her seriously.

According to her campaign literature, Cooney claims:

• Local law enforcement, including the Sheriff’s Office, is assisting a “drug cartel” and pushing illegal narcotics on the county’s black population, then entrapping and busting the users and “forcing them to do the cartel’s bidding” – a practice she equated with “slavery” and “modern-day Jim Crow.”

• Police unions are “mafia protection rackets” that accept illegal payment for “police protection or a bribe to induce police to look the other way when a crime is committed,” and law enforcement employees should not be permitted to join such “criminal organizations.”

• If she’s elected, the Sheriff’s Office will “pay reparations to victims of crimes perpetrated by our deputies, because that is just.”

Cooney also stated she endorses the Black Lives Matter movement’s call to defund the police – so much so that she vows to “slash the sheriff’s $51 million budget in half” – and believes Florida’s Baker Act, which allows people suspected of mental illness to be held involuntarily in a mental health facility for up to 72 hours, is unconstitutional.

Then there’s this: “I support rehabilitation for addicts in lieu of jail, while recommending the arrest and prosecution of the large-scale drug dealers, especially those in public office ... Law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and other public officials are involved in narcotics trafficking.”

Such misconduct doesn’t get reported by the news media because of fear, according to Cooney, who claimed one journalist told her, “I have kids. I don’t want to be found face-down in a ditch.” She said there are “standing threats to media, whether expressed or implied.”

Cooney wrote that the number of police shootings “is climbing rapidly,” and she connected the rising numbers to an increase in officers’ exposure to electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) emitting from their equipment.

She stated that she believes there’s a connection between the coronavirus pandemic and “harmful EMF radiation from 5G, Smart Grids and other sources,” and she has joined efforts to reduce those emissions.

She also opposes vaccine mandates.

Cooney, who said she was the valedictorian of her high school class while growing up in Massachusetts, described herself as a Democrat but said she opted to run without a party affiliation because she didn’t have the “extra money” to pay the Democratic Party’s $2,800 assessment.

“We are also very disappointed in the conduct of the local Democratic leaders,” Cooney wrote. “They do not support their candidates. In fact, they harass their candidates. Perhaps they are really working for the Republican Party? They have refused to explain their conduct.”

When Cooney first filed to run, a spokesperson for the Democrats of Indian River said the group doesn’t endorse candidates until after primaries.

Cooney stated she first registered as a Democrat when she moved to Florida seven years ago, but she always considered herself to be an independent.

“I have never been a very loyal Democrat,” she wrote.

In her email, Cooney wrote that she nearly missed the qualifying deadline because two of the banks she uses locally denied her access to her accounts for more than two weeks, and she suspects “foul play.”

She stated she was finally able to access her funds on June 10 – “after much stress” – and pay the qualifying fee by last Friday’s noon deadline.

“There were no legitimate banking issues,” Cooney wrote, adding “it is no coincidence that these banks committed these financial crimes against me during the candidate qualifying period.”