BY BUDDY NEVINS
A predicament faced Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler as the final returns from the special commission election trickled in Tuesday:
What to do about the runoff?
Should Seiler back Dean Trantalis, who ran against him for mayor in 2009? Or should he support Charlotte Rodstrom, who sometimes was a thorn in his side during her previous tenure as a commissioner.
Seiler decided to stay out.
The mayor knows he could end up working with either on the Fort Lauderdale commission because either could win — Trantalis and Rodstrom appear evenly matched.
In the four-candidate race, Rodstrom edged out Trantalis by just 1,154 to 1,026. The other two candidates split the remainder of the 2,471 votes cast.
Former County Commmissioner Ken Keechl (left) looks over returns Tuesday with Dean Trantalis (courtesy Facebook)
“I am not endorsing anybody in the run off,” Seiler told Browardbeat.com. “I know both of them very well, and I think highly of both of them.
“I worked with Charlotte six years on the commission. Dean handled that race (against me for mayor) well and showed a lot of class after it was over.”
Key to the race could be what the gay voters do. Commission District 2 has a substantial number of gay voters in places like Victoria Park.
Trantalis has one advantage with gay voters – he is openly gay and was the city’s first gay commissioner roughly a decade ago.
However, no one should discount Rodstrom’s reach into the gay community. She has voted solidly with gays on their issues and has numerous supporters among LGBT voters, which means that community is clearly politically divided.
Can her support among gays offset the natural affinity of voters to back candidates who is a member of their “group,” i.e., candidates who are like them?
It will be interesting to see how this plays out prior to the runoff election March 12.