BY BUDDY NEVINS
A one-time Republican activist is trying to win the Democratic nomination for a Florida House seat.
It’s House District 104, in extreme southwest Broward.
Democratic candidate Richard “Rick” Stark was not just a Republican . He didn’t just once register as a Republican…like, maybe, Democratic Sheriff’s candidate Louis Granteed.
Stark was the elected treasurer of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, the county’s GOP organization. He was also the founder of the Weston Republican Club.
He put his money where his beliefs were: 2002 and 2010 he gave money to Republicans Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, state House member Adam Hasner and Susan Goldstein and Gov. Charlie Crist.
Strangely, Stark also gave money to Democratic gubernatorial candidates Bill McBride and Alex Sink while he was a Republican activist.
Sometime along the way, Stark became a Democrat. This was about the time he started running for the state House in Broward, a Democratic-leaning county.
Stark’s campaign consultant is former School Board member Marty Rubinstein, a Democrat.
Another fact about Stark is that consultant Barbara Miller has a role in the background of his campaign.
Barbara Miller: Helping Former Republican Activist
That’s very, very interesting since this is the same Miller who is behind the attempts to topple Democratic Party Chair Mitch Ceasar for a “true Democrat”.
“You are right that I believe in the Democratic Party and am dedicated to changing it,” Miller told me. ”That’s why I’m convinced that Rick is serious when he says he is a Democrat…Often times people who take a stand to switch (parties) are more dedicated than those just born into it.”
A decade ago in Northwest Broward, a state House candidate was crushed in the Democratic primary when it was revealed she gave donations to Republicans. Stark is hoping times have changed.
Another Democratic candidate in House District 104 is Robin Behrman, Miami-Dade school administrator. She gave a few shekels to Republicans over the years ($100 to state House member Ellyn Bogdanoff in 2010) but a lot to Democrats like gubernatorial candidates Alex Sink ($500) and Rod Smith ($500).
The third candidate is Alanna Mersinger, who has been a politicial activist in Miramar for a long time. She appears at this point the only candidate in the Democratic primary who has not flirted with the GOP.