Republican Political Operative and Key DeSantis Ally Found Dead in Apparent Suicide
Kent Stermon, a high-profile Republican political operative and a key ally of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, was found dead on Thursday night just hours after leaving the hospital due to a stroke.
According to investigating authorities, Stermon’s cause of death was suicide.
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JUST IN: According to multiple sources, Kent Stermon, a prominent Northeast Florida businessman and well-known political donor, was found dead Thursday night. He was 50 years old. https://t.co/UbthxkH9fE
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) December 9, 2022
On top of health issues that likely contributed to Stermon’s woes, he was also under investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
“Mr. Stermon was the subject of an active investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, which began a few weeks prior to his death. This investigation remains ongoing at this time and will continue until its completion. As with all active investigations, there is limited information available to release at this time. However, as soon as this investigation has been completed, all applicable information will be available for release to the public,” Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters said.
Stermon is under investigation due to allegations stemming from sexual misconduct, according to law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation.
The Jacksonville Sheriff has confirmed close Ron DeSantis ally and GOP donor Kent Stermon was under an active criminal investigation before his body was discovered in his vehicle Thursday night.
Stermon, who died by suicide, was being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct.
— Travis Akers (@travisakers) December 9, 2022
Stermon has been dealing with health issues for some time, which temporarily made him step away from politics. He told Florida Politics on Thursday, just hours before he committed suicide, that he had a stroke on Monday but was in good spirits.
“I am stepping about as far from politics as I can right now,” Stermon texted. “My prognosis is positive, and I just got discharged from the hospital, but I have a ton of work to do to get healthy.”
Stermon played a key role in promoting DeSantis’ candidacy during the 2018 Gubernatorial Republican Primary, according to multiple sources.
He has donated tens of thousands of dollars to DeSantis’ campaign and helped him secure key endorsements in Northeast Florida.
Sheriff: GOP donor, DeSantis ally Kent Stermon under 'active investigation … pic.twitter.com/jkjO5tlC81
— Rhonda Harbison (@rhonda_harbison) December 9, 2022
Stermon also served in various prominent roles in the state of Florida, including serving as a board member in Florida’s university system and chairing the Public Safety Transition Advisory Committee.
“Stermon served as a board member on Florida’s State University System. According to the board website, Stermon was president of Total Military Management, served on the Florida Highway Patrol Advisory Council, and was Chair of the Governor’s Public Safety Transition Advisory Committee.” According to WJXT.
The Board of Governors offered a statement about Stermon’s passing, saying that Stermon ‘championed’ higher education and was a “longtime supporter of the University of North Florida.”
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Governor Kent Stermon. For the last three years, Kent has served on this board with distinction. He has been a champion of higher education and student success in Florida and a longtime supporter of the University of North Florida in many ways throughout the years. The Board of Governors sends its heartfelt condolences to Kent’s family during this difficult time.”
Other prominent political figures in Florida offered their condolences as well. State Representative Jason Fischer, R-Fl. offered his condolences to Stermon’s family.
I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing Kent Stermon. My condolences to his family. Prayers 🙏 https://t.co/5ce06362rh
— Rep. Jason Fischer (@JasonFischerFL) December 9, 2022
Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director, gave his condolences on the Governor’s behalf.
“The Governor and First Lady were shocked and saddened to hear of Kent’s passing, and their prayers (and our entire office’s prayers) are with his family during this difficult time,” Fenske said on Friday.
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