BY BUDDY NEVINS
The next six weeks of campaigning in Florida House District 96 Democratic primary is bound to turn nasty.
That is clear from a poll that was conducted earlier this week.
The poll tested the effectiveness of negative attacks that could be used in the August 26 primary against former state Rep. Steve Perman, a Coral Springs Democrat who is seeking to return to Tallahassee after serving one term 2010-2012.
Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, Perman’s opponent in the Democratic primary, denied she was behind the poll.
“It’s not my poll,” Jacobs said. “I don’t know who did it.”
Steve Perman and Kristin Jacobs (Photo: Browardbulldog.org)
But the attacks mirrored those that Jacobs has leveled at Perman in speeches across the Broward district, which includes Coconut Creek and portions of Margate, Parkland and Coral Springs.
The questions are asked without mentioning Perman’s name.
One question asked voters how they felt about using public money for private school vouchers.
Jacobs has savaged Perman for voting in 2011 to allow state money to be used by the poor to pay for private school tuition.
Perman noted that the money for the vouchers did not come from traditional public schools. Other Democrats voted for the bill, including the outgoing state Rep. Jim Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, the termed out House District 96 occupant.
Another question bizarrely asked “How do you feel about chiropractors?”
Perman is a chiropractor and a great deal of his campaign has been funded by other chiropractors. That has led Jacobs to contend that her opponent would be a “special interest representative” focused on issues that help chiropractors rather than all District 96 residents.
A third question asked how the Democratic voters “would feel about a Democrat who gave 17 checks to Republican candidates?”
Jacobs has criticized Perman for donating to Republican campaigns. Perman said the contributions were to fellow chiropractors.
“She wants to paint me with sleeping with the enemy. It’s a false charge,” Perman said.
Although denying any roll in the poll, Jacobs reiterated in an interview her charge that Perman had supported Republicans while she was a “true Democrat.”
“He wrote checks to Republicans while he himself was on the ballot. That’s not standing up for Democratic values,” Jacobs said.
The poll also tested how much the endorsement of Sheriff Scott Israel will mean for Jacobs. While Jacobs got the sheriff’s endorsement, both candidates got co-endorsements from the Police Benevolent Association.
Perman predicts that the campaign will degenerate into a blizzard of negative mailed ads aimed at him. “She’s going to paper me,” he said.
A sitting county commissioner, Jacobs has more than $100,000 in the bank, which can buy quite a lot of ads in a primary where as few as 8,000 could vote. Perman has roughly $43,000 in the bank.
But Perman is not worried.
“I’m very proud of my performance and my record as a state representative,” he said. “I stood up for the highest values of Democrats.”