BY BUDDY NEVINS
Political consultant Judy Stern and Mayor Jack Seiler are cheering.
That’s what well-placed, long-time Fort Lauderdale City Hall watchers were saying after the results of the city election Tuesday.
Be assured that Stern and Seiler are, at the very least, not upset by Charlotte Rodstrom’s loss.
Rodstrom’s attempted comeback ended in defeat when former Commissioner Dean Trantalis beat her by 18 votes.
The small vote total meant a difference of .58 percent between the two – just over the .5 percent that requires a recount.
Stern helped run Rodstrom’s previous victorious city commission races. But the consultant had a bitter break with Rodstrom last year.
After that, Rodstrom lost a bid for county commission. Then she lost Tuesday’s race.
The reason Stern’s departure from the Rodstrom camp hurt so much:
The two were close confidents, with Stern even visiting at the Rodstrom’s North Carolina vacation home.
According to political observers, Rodstrom suffered without Stern to lean on. She had no independent political expert to advise her. She had no one to turn for campaign help except her husband, former County Commissioner John Rodstrom.
And although he denies it vehemently, it is widely believed in political circles that Mayor Jack Seiler worked behind the scenes to thwart Charlotte Rodstrom’s return to the commission. He viewed her as a opponent on city issues, according to pols.
The loss means there won’t be a Rodstrom in office for the foreseeable future.
John Rodstrom represented Fort Lauderdale since the 1980s on the city commission and then the county commission from 1992. He left office in November 2012 because of term limits.
A former city commissioner, Charlotte Rodstrom quit the city commission to run for her husband’s former county commission seat. When she lost, she attempted to return to City Hall.
Tuesday’s voting in Fort Lauderdale was a special, not originally scheduled election. It was triggered by Rodstrom’s original departure from City Hall to run for the county commission.
The special election created the only issue in the campaign.
Trantalis hammered Rodstrom that her political ambition cost the city $200,000 for the special election. In a city where polls show the voters are happy with their government, there appeared to be nothing else on voters’ mind.
The cost of the election, her loss of a close confident and the behind-the-scene maneuvering by some in Seiler’s camp was fatal for Rodstrom.
Dean Trantalis talks to his mother after his victory (photo courtesy of Art Seitz)