BY BUDDY NEVINS
Democrats want their Broward School Board seat back.
Retired Miami Dade school principal Robin Behrman has opened a campaign for the countywide seat now held by Donna Korn, a Republican.
Korn hasn’t opened a campaign account yet.
School Board campaigns are nominally non-partisan. But activists use advertising and word-of-mouth to let voters know the party ID of candidates.
If Korn runs and if history is any guide, she won’t be as vulnerable as many Democrats assume. Last year she beat Democratic stalwart Franklin Sands, the former Florida House Democratic leader who was running on the same ballot as Barack Obama.
Behrman of Davie lost a three-way Democratic primary last year against Richard Stark for state House. She spent just over $112,000, of which $36,600 was her own. Her husband is the head of the Florida Association of Community Health Centers and was labeled a “lobbyist” by opponents during last year’s campaign.
“We said that about him in the campaign,” concedes Barbara Miller, campaign manager for Stark.
But now Miller is very upbeat about Behrman and her potential: “I found that whenever she got up to speak, she was very passionate and knowledgeable about education. I thought she was running for the wrong office last year. I told her she should run for School Board.”
Behrman, 59, has solid experience -– 30 years as a Miami-Dade teacher and principal, plus seven more years as a private school teacher and substitute.
That means she will be an advocate for the classroom and local schools, rather than a toady of the downtown crowd of school bureaucrats.
Broward is a daunting place to run countywide. Its sprawling with lots of different constituencies and not a lot of money to reach them.
Money is hard to raise in a School Board race because since the downtown in construction and school spending, there is little benefit for insiders to give to Board campaigns.
“It is very difficult to communicate your message because there is not enough money,” said Miller, who has run School Board races. “It has sadly become a name game.”
Well, Behrman is a good name that could appeal to lots of folks.
Behrman plays down the party politics of running against Korn.
“I’ve got nothing against her,” she said. “I just feel I’ve got a lot to offer.”
Once voters read her resume, I believe they’ll agree.