John Rutherford (Florida politician)

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John Rutherford
John Rutherford 115th Congress photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded by Ander Crenshaw
Sheriff of Duval County
In office
Preceded by Nat Glover
Succeeded by Mike Williams
Personal details
Born (1952-09-02) September 2, 1952 (age 64)
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Patricia Rutherford
Children 2
Residence Jacksonville, Florida
Alma mater Florida State University
FBI Academy National Executive Institute
Occupation law enforcement officer
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website House website

John Henry Rutherford (born September 2, 1952) is an American law enforcement officer and politician who is the U.S. Representative for Florida's 4th congressional district. He was an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, and served as Duval County Sheriff from 2003 to 2015.

Early life and education[edit]

Rutherford was born in 1952 in Omaha[1] and has lived in Jacksonville since 1958. He earned an associate's degree in police administration from Florida Junior College, then received a bachelor's degree in criminology at Florida State University. Later, he attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and graduated in session 171. He is also a graduate of the National Executive Institute.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office[edit]

Rutherford as Jacksonville sheriff

Officer Rutherford started out as a patrolman in 1974 and rose to the rank of Captain. He has commanded a number of divisions, including Arson, Burglary, the Police Academy and Patrol on the Southside. He also served as Chief of Services, Traffic and Special Operations, and Chief of Patrol.[2] As Chief of Services, Chief of Traffic/Special Operations and Chief of Patrol, where he commanded over 700 uniformed officers.[3]

In 1995, Rutherford was appointed as Director of Corrections under then-Sheriff Nat Glover and held that title for 8 years.

Rutherford ran for Sheriff in 2003 and won election. In 2006 Sheriff Rutherford started the HITZ Program to stop transient nuisance crimes and help transient substance abusing persons into treatment rather than prison.[4] Rutherford instituted programs in which officers walked the beat downtown,[5] Operation Safe Streets, Gun Bounty Rewards and a Public Awareness Campaign with Billboard, Radio and TV commercials.[6] Initiatives also include; Intelligence Lead Policing, Community Problem Solving and Continuous Improvement through LEAN concepts. By 2011 the City of Jacksonville was enjoying a forty year low in crime.

In February, 2003, a campaign violation complaint was filed by a City Council candidate alleging violations of the Federal Hatch Act of 1939, which prohibits employees working for federally funded agencies from running for office in partisan elections. Rutherford consulted a lawyer, and was told there was no conflict, but retired anyway, in order to remove any doubt, with 28 years of service.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Rutherford meeting with Vice President Mike Pence on board Air Force Two, March 2017

2016 campaign[edit]

Rutherford announced his candidacy for Florida's 4th congressional district on April 15, 2016.[8] Originally he announced he would run for Florida's 6th congressional district in 2015.[9] On August 30, 2016, he won the Republican primary with 38.7% of the vote, beating Lake Ray, Hans Tanzler III and Bill McClure.[10] He faced David Bruderly in the general election and won. On January 11, 2017, he collapsed in the Capitol and was hospitalized.[11]


On January 11, 2017, Rutherford collapsed on the floor of the House, in what was described as an "acute digestive flare up".[12][13] He was taken to the hospital, and was released January 21.[14][15]

Committee assignments[edit]


Rutherford campaigned for Duval County sheriff, running against fellow Republicans David Anderson and Lem Sharp. In the election on April 15, 2003, Rutherford won 135,038 votes, 78 percent of the total. He took office on July 1, 2003. Rutherford was re-elected in 2007[16] and 2011.[17]

On August 30, 2016, he won the Republican Primary for Florida's 4th Congressional District.[18]

2016 Florida 4th Congressional District Republican Primary Results[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John Rutherford 38,688 38.7%
Republican Lake Ray 20,111 20.1%
Republican Hans Tanzler III 18,999 19.0%
Republican Bill McClure 9,854 9.8%
Republican Edward Malin 7,879 7.9%
Republican Stephen Kaufman 2,413 2.4%
Republican Deborah Katz Pueschel 2,137 2.1%
Total votes 100,081 100

Personal life[edit]

Rutherford is married to his wife, Patricia. They have two children (Alicia and Michael) and five grandchildren, Michela, Hannah, Maria Vittoria, Kiera and John-Carlo. In an interview prior to his first election in 2003, he was asked what voters would be surprised to know about John Rutherford. His reply: "I'm still a surfer."


  1. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  2. ^ Florida Times-Union: March 13, 2003-Veteran cop Rutherford has vision for Sheriff's Office
  3. ^ [1] Sheriff John Rutherford Biography
  4. ^ [2] HITZ is a hit - Daily Record
  5. ^ [3] Merchants agree JSO’s effort to curb crime at Hemming Plaza is working. Daily Record
  6. ^ [4] Sheriff's Initiatives -
  7. ^ Florida Times-Union: March 1, 2003-Candidates accused of violating law
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Cheney, Kyle; Bresnahan, John (January 11, 2017). "Fla. lawmaker taken from Capitol on stretcher". Politico. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  13. ^ Wong, Scott (January 11, 2017). "Congressman collapses in House cloakroom". The Hill. Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  14. ^ Rahman, Rema (January 19, 2017). "John Rutherford Continues Recuperation". Roll Call. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Congressman John Rutherford has been released from the hospital". WTLV First Coast News. January 22, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2017. 
  16. ^ Florida Times-Union: March 3, 2007-DUVAL COUNTY SHERIFF: Rutherford is slow, on track
  17. ^ Treen, Dana: "John Rutherford wins re-election as Jacksonville sheriff" Florida Times-Union, March 22, 2011
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ander Crenshaw
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 4th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jacky Rosen
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Lloyd Smucker