BY BUDDY NEVINS
Sometime using your own money in a judicial campaign is just plain foolish.
That may be the case with Julie Shapiro-Harris, who is running for circuit court. Harris has put $85,000 of her own into her race.
Julie Shapiro-Harris: Places A Big Bet On Winning
If Harris was a Rockefeller heir that kind of money would be pocket change. She is not that lucky. Harris is straight middle class, with an income last year of $56,305 and a net worth of $418,777.
Hey, I’m not financial genius.
But I know enough to see a risky bet when I see it. I see a very, very risky bet when Harris is dipping into her savings to pay for a campaign against Michael Rothschild that is at best a tossup.
At $56,305-a-year, it will take Harris a long time to make back that money.
Using your own money sometimes has a deeper meaning: Lack of support.
Harris has only managed to collect $12,285 in donations as of July 20. Compare that to Rothschild’s $58,737.
Her failure to collect even what it would take to run a city commission race is amazing since her husband is Barry Harris, a well-known Democratic political consultant. You can decide what that says about Barry Harris’ abilities.
Harris needs to be reminded of another judicial race in 1998 pitting three well-qualified candidates – Mitch Bernstein, Alice Reiter Feld and Kathy Ireland. It is proof that putting large sums of money in a race is no guarantee of victory.
Feld put over $108,000 in her race and Bernstein kicked in $50,000 of his own. They lost to the candidate who put in only $21,000 – Ireland.
The bottom line:
Some vilify judicial candidates paying for their own campaign as trying to buy a seat on the bench.
Others say that self-funding frees a potential judge from any conflicts.
I say putting money into a race can never replace the support shown by collecting donations. And sometimes it shows bad judgment because it is just plain fiscally stupid.