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Collier County candidate arrested with cocaine, asked to drop out of race

John Davidson Jenkins, 55, a candidate running for Collier County Board of County Commissioners, was arrested for possession of cocaine Sunday and is now being asked to drop out of the race by his party.

“We were actually excited to have a Democratic candidate in the race who had a voice for the people, so this was a tough thing for our party,” said Annisa Karim, the chairwoman for Collier County Democrats.

Karim made the decision to ask Jenkins to drop out of the race for the Collier County commission. He is the only Democrat running against three Republicans for the District 1 seat.

“We know that this is an important seat for Collier County because whoever wins will have a large voice in what happens in the future of Collier County,” Karim said.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jenkins around 2 a.m. Sunday morning for having cocaine in his pocket.

A Lyft driver called 911 after seeing Jenkins passed out in the parking lot of the Break Time Lounge in East Naples.

Surveillance video later shows Jenkins taken away in an ambulance.

As for the black eye, Jenkins told deputies he fell.

“We need a strong voice in the seat, someone who’s going to represent people,” Karim said. “We need to allow, and we thought we need to allow Mr. Jenkins the privacy and the time to deal with this in his own manner.”

Jennifer Edwards, the Collier County supervisor of elections, said, if Jenkins drops out of the race, the party can put up another candidate. But it will need to do so before Sept. 1 to ensure the name appears on the ballot.

Jenkins has not answered the Democratic Party’s call to drop out of the county commissioners race. He also did not answer our calls for reaction to his arrest or political future.

Reporter:Dannielle Garcia
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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