BY BUDDY NEVINS
Its not everyday that a judge retires.
So when longtime Circuit Judge Mel Grossman announced his retirement, it was like throwing chum in the ocean: The sharks quickly gathered.
Grossman’s soon-to-be open seat has already drawn three sharks, eh, judicial candidates: Andrea Gundersen, Russell Miller Thompson and Rhoda Sokoloff.
I expect more.
Gundersen is the latest to open a candidate’s account, filing earlier this month.
Who is Gundersen?
Here is the description for the Browardbeat.com post * she authored earlier this year:
“Andrea R. Gundersen is an AV rated Marital & Family Law attorney and a Certified Family Mediator with more than 20 years experience. She has an office in Fort Lauderdale.”
Her race will be managed by veteran judicial campaign manager David Brown, who last cycle helped elect Michael Ian Rothschild a circuit judge.
Who are the other candidates?
Thompson is a Davie personal injury attorney.
He kicked in $150,000 of his own money right off the bat. He has $1,000 in other contributions, including an $85 in-kind contribution from Stuart Michaelson, former city attorney of Sunrise and husband of former County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman.
Thompson’s campaign will be handled by Michael Ahearn, a lawyer and political strategist who ran Circuit Judge Dale Ross’s re-election last year.
Sokoloff is a family law attorney who has run at least two previous judicial races. She opened her campaign with $10,000 of her own.
Roughly 125,000 will vote in the 2014 primary for judge based on past performance in an off-year election. That means it will cost a lot to really communicate a memorable message.
So most judicial candidates will be unable to communicate much with the majority of voters. Most ballots will be cast by voters knowing little about a candidate except their name.
You can judge whether Gundersen, Sokoloff or Thompson are more likely to win votes based on name alone. And those aren’t the only candidates likely to be in this race.
Maybe Stacey Schulman, a lawyer with an impressive resume who has talked about running and can self-finance her campaign?
Let the fun begin.
* I welcome posts from candidates. Just write me at Browardbeat@hotmail.com.