After Two National Incidents in Six Months, Okaloosa Sheriff Race Has A Challenger

In Brief:

  • Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Ron Livingston challenges incumbent Sheriff Eric Aden for the Okaloosa County Sheriff position, focusing on the need for more training for deputies.
  • Livingston must overcome a significant financial disadvantage and quickly build support before the August 20 primary election.
  • Incumbent Sheriff Eric Aden, selected as Larry Ashley’s successor in 2020, has a substantial campaign fund, making the race highly competitive.

Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden has a last-minute challenger for his position as the county’s elected law enforcement officer.

Crestview resident and FHP Sergeant Ron Livingston, a Florida Highway Patrol sergeant, lists Crestview as his residence on LinkedIn. Livingston started with the FDLE in 1992 and says he has been a trainer with the agency for the last 24 years.

His platform for this race: more training for Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputies. He believes additional training will help them avoid incidents like the shooting and killing of Senior Airman Roger Fortson and what has become known popularly as “The Acorn Incident,” where a now-fired deputy shot as his patrol car, which had a suspect in custody inside because he thought heard gunfire – which turned out to be a falling acorn.

RELATED: Okaloosa Sheriff Releases 9-1-1 Tapes From Airman Shooting Death

“I think a lot of these incidents have to do with a lack of training,” Livingston said, “I believe the more you train, the more it helps the community, but it also helps the deputies… We need to give them the tools that they need to go out here [and] not only keep them safe but keep the community safe.”

He will face an uphill battle. Livingston must build a war chest to get his name out to the people of Okaloosa County before primary election day on August 20.

Incumbent Sheriff Eric Aden was selected as Former Okaloosa County Sheriff Larry Ashley’s heir to the position in 2020.

Ed Spooner was the last person to serve as Sheriff without being an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Deputy immediately before the election. Spooner served in the role for a year between 2009 and 2010 after Former Sheriff Charlie Morris’s arrest on corruption charges.

As of May 31, Sheriff Aden has $132,175 available to spend on his campaign. The only candidate for re-election with more in the war chest is incumbent Superintendent of Schools Marcus Chambers. Chambers has $167,617 to spend on his campaigns. Both men will earn the right to another four-year term if they win their primaries in August.

For more information about local elections – check out our elections page at

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