BY BUDDY NEVINS
I hope the handful of judges appointed by Governors Charlie Crist and Jeb Bush have a fallback plan for the rest of their lives.
They’ll need it.
Crist’s announcement that he is running for U. S. Senate as an independent has suddenly dimmed their chances to be elected in August.
Judges run in the August primary. Since judicial races are non-partisan, all voters can participate.
When there was a bitter GOP primary planned between Crist and Marco Rubio, the Democratic vote in the primary would have been watered down by the large group of Republicans voting.
Now the newly-independent Crist avoids the primary and runs in November. Without a hot race to draw Republicans to the polls, the August primary will be dominated by Democrats in this overwhelmingly Democratic county.
Although candidates are forbidden in judicial races to advertise their party affiliation, the word will get out. Using “independent committees and surrogates, the challengers will make sure voters know that they are Democrats and the incumbents are Republicans.
The party ID will help the challengers. Voters will know so little about judicial candidates that they will naturally vote for those they can identify with.
They’ll vote for a candidate who is a Democrat like them. Or they’ll vote for a candidate with a name that sounds like one of their own group.
So having a Jewish-sounding name won’t hurt.
Although Jewish voters are less of a factor in Broward than in the past, they still are a sizable bloc in the August primary. This is especially true when you have less Republicans voting.
Republicans may be able to save some judges by raising large sums of money and using it to point out that some challengers are eminently unqualified.
But it’s going to be tougher for incumbents. It’s going to be expensive.
And it is going to be more interesting.