BY BUDDY NEVINS
Late last month, I discovered that Broward County Judge Lee Seidman’s judicial assistant was receiving some of his campaign e-mail at work.
Seidman was asked why?
“I never gave …that address, Seidman emailed me.
He is totally correct. This is just one more reason why I believe judges should only face merit retention elections once appointed.
If judges had merit retention instead of being pitted against candidates, the campaigns would more likely be about how well the judge does his job. Judges and voters wouldn’t have to deal with foolish side issues like the one I am posting here.
But there are no merit retention elections for circuit or county court. So Seidman’s use of his judicial assistant has become an issue talked about at the courthouse.
Here is the story:
Seidman — he tends to be a tad paranoid — doesn’t list any campaign or personal web address or phone number on his campaign material filed with the Supervisor of Election. He lists is judicial office.
A political club president wanted to invite all the judicial candidates to the club’s monthly meetings.
She called the number she found on the Supervisor of Elections website trying to find Seidman. She got Seidman’s judicial assistant.
The JA told the club president to e-mail her at her courthouse web address, not knowing it was a mistake to do so.
But Seidman’s enemies are telling people that he is using his judicial assistant to do campaign work.
I know why Seidman is a particularly tasty target:
(1) He has his wife Laura Seidman running against another judge, Circuit Judge Lisa Porter.
(2) He has made noise that he will drop his county court seat and run for circuit court against an incumbent judge, probably Circuit Judge Susan Lebow.
(3) His campaign treasure is Kevin Kulik, a criminal defense attorney who some dislike. Kulik’s enemies charge he is trying to become a political kingmaker at the courthouse.
Talk about that. Better yet, talk about whether Seidman is doing a good job not about the mistakes of his judicial assistant.
Some of Browardbeat.com’s readers have other views. Here is one of them:
“I know what the JA did was a simple error but here is the problem, Seidman should have made it clear to the JA under no circumstances is the JA supposed to be dealing with anyone under any circumstances on campaign issues.
Seidman has had an opponent since July, are you really going to believe this is the first time someone tried to reach his campaign to invite him to an event and the JA dealt with it?
Also, as you know, his opponents can only attend events where all candidates are invited, how can a person sending out invitations reach Seidman without going through the Courthouse? SOE (supervisor of elections) does not have an alternative campaign email for him.
I could understand an error like this if Seidman recently got an opponent but he has had opponents for months.
How can he explain that every other incumbent judge has a dedicated non courthouse email for campaign business, but him? While this seems like a minor thing, it reminds me of your article on his financial disclosures, he just always seems to be able to explain everything away as simple error.
My suggestion is let the readers/voters decide.”