BY BUDDY NEVINS
This is the second installment of politics to watch in 2015.
I’m sure you’ll tell me what you think:
The Sunshine State News this month named Edwards, D-Plantation, a political winner in 2014. She joined state Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican powerhouse, to push a Charlotte’s Web medical marijuana bill through the reluctant, conservative Legislature.
She is different from many Democrats in the Broward Delegation who are content to oppose anything the GOP proposes. Edwards is intent on working with Republicans.
“Edwards and her practical centrism — social liberalism and working with the business community to grow jobs — also looks like a winning bet for Florida Democrats. . .” the Sunshine State News wrote.
Broward can expect some great things in the future from this pragmatic politician.
EVAN JENNE and JARED MOSKOWITZ:
These two veteran House members also aren’t wedded to the “we-oppose everything” drum beat of the Democrats.
Expect both to find common ground and work with the overwhelmingly Republican leadership.
For instance, Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, has filed a bill to correct a problem he sees in Florida law. It would exempt child abuse talk from the law which prohibits conversations from being recorded without the consent of both parties. That would allow such recordings to be used as evidence in a trial.
Moskowitz filed his bill after the Florida Supreme Court overturned a sex offender’s life prison sentence earlier this year. The Supremes ruled that the conviction for sexually abusing his stepdaughter was based on a recording she made without his permission, thus shouldn’t have been used as evidence.
Moskowitz surely has found a bill that will have legs with Republicans.
The daughter of super lobbyist Ron Book, Lauren Book is an internationally-known advocate for victims of child abuse. She has already backed Moskowitz’s bill.
An almost certain state Senate candidate, Lauren Book has a whooping $420,000 in her political committee as of November 30. That should scare away all but the most foolhardy opponents.
I expect Book to walk into the District 33 Senate seat now held by state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood. Sobel is termed out in 2016.
As a young state Senator, Lauren Book immediately will be a leader among the new generation of Broward Democrats.
COME FROM BEHIND CANDIDATES:
Don’t count out a candidate you’ve never heard of and who isn’t anointed by the political Pooh-Bahs. That’s the lesson for 2015.
If 2014 taught anything, it was that money and the support of the insiders doesn’t necessarily equal victory at the polls.
Take Clauda Robinson.
The courthouse crowd gave Nicaraguan-born Robinson almost no chance to beat incumbent County Court Judge Ian Richards.
Richards had $163,771. Robinson had $11,609 and one true believer, consultant Mike Ahearn.
Ahearn did lose the $155,000-plus judicial race he managed for Russell Thompson. But it’s his work with Robinson, who had no money to pay him, that will enhance his reputation as a go-to consultant for judicial races.
The West Park Democrat has shown his work doesn’t end when the legislative session is over.
Jones was brought into the campaign for the $800 million school bonds by Superintendent Robert Runcie. He helped it pass.
A lifelong Broward resident whose father is mayor of West Park, Jones has a good feel for his constituents. He filed a bill that would require police to wear body cameras. The bill signals the importance of the issue of police misconduct is to members of his minority community and others.
An up-and-coming leader in the black community with a good handle on social media, there is talk already about Jones running for Senate, County Commission or for Congress someday. He’s a legislator to keep an eye on.
There are campaign consultants. And then recently, there is Amy Rose.
In the past two years, Rose has built up an impressive record of victories – Mark Bogen, who just was elected to the county commission, is the latest.
Granted, Bogen had boatloads of cash. And Rose’s campaign for Sheriff Scott Israel — her 2012 highpoint — had beaucoup help of political strategist Ron Gunzburger.
Still, Rose’s grassroots connections, hard work and her skill in hooking up with winning candidates makes her the one beat in 2016.
The former Sheriff Al Lamberti is still said to be considering a campaign to regain his seat from Israel in 2016. At this point, Lamberti appears to be the only (realistic) candidate being mentioned.
Lamberti is expected to announce his decision sometime in 2015.
Don’t do it Al!
You are carrying more baggage than an airport redcap. Do I need to mention your connections to Ponzi scammer Scott Rothstein?
And why would voters turn against Israel? He has made virtually no mistakes that will resonate and has done a lot of good.
Israel’s policy of giving first time, non violent juvenile offenders a second chance is a great move. His deputies now give kids alternative sentencing to keep them out of the criminal justice system.
“My success will be measured not by how many children we lock up, but by how many children we can keep out of the criminal justice system,” Israel says.
Makes sense to me…and it will to other voters.
Lamberti or any other candidate considering a run against Israel should realize this: They are walking into a campaign abattoir.
Israel is so popular that he could be the king of Broward politics, if he was more political.
There could be an Israel political machine. He could sponsor candidates. He could win elections.
But Israel tells me he just wants to be a good cop.
That’s part of what makes him so popular. He is a good cop and that’s all.
Unless Israel falls on his face between now and election day, 2016, no one can beat him.