BY BUDDY NEVINS
Guess the missing name from the list of Democrats at a Get-Out-The-Vote fundraiser in June?
Itâ€™s Mitch Ceasar.
The Broward Democratic Party leader Ceasar is the most obvious name left off the host committee. The e-mail invitation is below.
The fundraiser is part of a massive effort by the state party to work around Ceasar, who is viewed by some as partly responsible for the Democratâ€™s debacle of 2010.
It is a charge Ceasar denies.
Reached in the Seattle airport, Ceasar was magnanimous about the new Democratic effort.
“I welcome anyone who wants to pitch in,” he said.
He said his Democratic organization ran a training program last week with Obama For America (OFA) for over 200 precinct committee people. There are over 600 precinct members.
For Ceasar’s opponents, anything he does is not enough and they have the ear of state Party Chair Rod Smith, according to a source at the state Democratic Party.
Any move on the Broward chairman would have been a parliamentary mess that would divide the party. Ceasarâ€™s term is until Dec., 2012 â€“ one month after the election.
Smith: I Never Worked Against Ceasar
State Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff said, “Chairman Smith never thought about, considered or wanted to remove Mitch Ceasar.”
Still, Smith and long-time Broward adviser Barbara Miller are putting together a major mirror Democratic Party organization.
The fundraiser is at Millerâ€™s home. The veteran Democratic activist and campaign guru has always been on the opposite side of Ceasar.
Jotkoff says my interpretation of the event it way off base.
“This is nothing more than Chairman Smith has done in Orlando, Tampa and other places. He is raising money for the Florida Democratic Party,” the spokesman said. “That is all it is. This is not about the Broward DEC. This is not about Mitch Ceasar.”
Here is how Miller explained by e-mail the meeting:
“With the disastrous turnout and ramifications of the 2010 election, it was apparent that Broward needed to begin laying a strong foundation for GOTV in 2012. I contacted Rod Smith and volunteered to put together a grassroots organization, and Rod asked (State Rep.) Franklin Sands to work with me to get it started. The team is called Team Broward and is an all volunteer grass roots group that includes DEC members, OFA activists, YD’s, and others who may not be associated with organizations. We have coordinators and hundreds of volunteers all over Broward registering voters, although the Republican legislature has made it almost impossible to do voter registration, calling for absentee/vote by mail applications, recruiting other volunteers, rallying, and doing all they can to ensure a strong Democratic turnout in 2012.â€
Another Shot At Ceasar
Sandsâ€™ involvement is another slap at Ceasar.
Sands was appointed the state partyâ€™s southeast Florida coordinator. That rankled Ceasar, who didnâ€™t want someone reporting to Tallahassee looking over his shoulder.
An interesting name on the host committee is Ana Gardner, who couldnâ€™t participate in politics while a judge but is now in private practice. She is obviously returning to her Democratic roots. She is controversial since she left the courthouse under relentless attack by bloggers, who accused her of ethics violations.
Much of the rest of the list contains Olâ€™ Timey Democratic activists.
Many are part of the largely-defunct South Broward Democratic Mafia, like former U. S. Rep. Larry Smith and lawyer Larry Davis. George Platt was the party chairman back in the Stone Age, before becoming one of the leading lobbyists. Bob Butterworth is a former Florida Attorney General, Broward Sheriff and Broward judge who lives in Hollywood with his wife, Marta Prado.
A lot is at stake with this bunch.
If Team Broward can get a viable GOTV program together, it would make the difference between victory and defeat for Barack Obama in Florida because he needs a big turnout in Broward.
And as Florida goes, so goes the White House.
Here is the e-mail invitation:
I am writing to ask you again if you will be a host for the Team Broward Fundraiser at my house, 442 Poinciana DR , Hallandale from 5:30-7:30 on Thursday, June 23rd.
The disastrous results of this past legislative session have made it even more imperative to secure the resources to organize the get out the vote for 2012 for Obama and the Democratic ballot. In fact, they even made it more difficult for us to reach our goal with their voter suppression legislation. Now, more than ever, we have got to reach out to others and personally ask them to help. Your help can make a huge difference.
We need to raise as much money as possible for our volunteer grassroots GOTV campaign to add at least 65,000 more voters than in 2010. We need money for materials, supplies, training, printing lists and absentee requests, canvassing supplies, refreshments for volunteers, and offices.
So far our host list includes:
- Bob Butterworth
- Marta Prado
- Shelly Spivack
- Sandra Coleman
- George Platt
- Estelle Loewenstein
- Sean Phillippi
- Carlos Verney, Jr.
- Ann Zucker
- David Singer
- Judi Robaina
- Maggie Macaulay
- Maggie Davidson
- Amy Rose
- Wally Eccleston
- Cynthia Busch
- David Bogenschutz
- Ana Gardiner
- Sen. Eleanor Sobel
- Alec Schultz
- Comm. Alex Lewy
- Larry Smith
- Rep. Franklin Sands
- Rick Hoye
- Ellen Hawks-Gaek
- Shelly De Marco
- Joanne Goodwin
- Larry Davis
- Janet Krop
Please let me know if you will join the list. The commitment is to reach out to recruit others, help raise funds, and attend the event.l help. Try to let me know by next Wednesday, May 25.
PS. We can’t have 2010 redux. I don’t have to tell you the price we are paying as a result of the far right agenda of the state legislature, governor, and US House. You can really make a difference.