A Bad Day For Political Consultants



This was an election for the voters, not the political consultants.

The losers included veteran consultants David Brown, Barbara Miller, Judy Stern and Amy Rose.

It goes to prove that none of them are political geniuses.  They win some and they lose some…as long as they get paid.

Brown’s School Board candidate Franklin Sands came in second, despite all the advantage of money, endorsements and Democratic Party creds.

His client Michael Rothschild won his race for judge, but it was a squeaker for candidate who had name ID, better experience, many more contributions (that means dedicated supporters) and all the legal establishment behind him.

Rothschild’s opponent Julie Shapiro-Harris ended up with more money, most of it her own. Money isn’t everything.  A number of candidates win all the time with less money and Brown has handled a number of them.

She is a woman, which helped. But that was somewhat offset by listing her name on the ballot as Julie Shapiro-Harris, rather than Julie Shapiro Harris, which would have given her an advantage of having her listed first.

Bottom line: Rothschild should have done better, especially since he was managed by Brown, one of Broward’s most-experienced consultants.

Brown has won some big ones in the past, but Tuesday wasn’t his day.

Stern lost a very visible judicial race: Ilene Lieberman.

Admittedly she wasn’t the most desirable candidate. Sources say she was impossible to deal with, a micromanager who second guessed every move in the campaign.

But she had everything a consultant looks for in a judicial candidate: Money, name ID and political skills.

The name ID apparently worked against Lieberman.  Voters knew her and didn’t like her. The previously unknown Kathleen McHugh won easily.

Stern is one of the best campaigners working in the county. This proves again that even the fabled Judy Stern can’t win them all.

Rose lost Louis Reinstein, who early in this race looked like an easy winner.  He was just out-campaigned by Edwards, who used grass roots skills to defeat Rose’s strategy.  I predict a great political future for Edwards.

Scott Israel, the winning sheriff’s candidate, was a Rose client, too.  She had a big role in that win from behind.

Earlier in the campaign, Louis Granteed had the support of a majority of the Democratic activists and a big head start on the money.

Rose had the help of some other political strategists in the background – Todd Wilder and Ron Gunzburger.

And Israel only won after a series of slimy attack ads and dirty tricks.

Still, the victory goes to Israel…and Rose.

Rose reminds me that another of her clients did well in the primary — Abby Freedman for School Board in northwest Broward came in first in a field of five.  Freedman faces seond-place finisher Shelly Solomon in the November election runoff.

Miller, of course, lost a race she really wanted to win. She really, really wanted to win.  She really, really, really wanted to win.

How do I know?  She told me.

She lost when Democratic boss Mitch Ceasar got re-elected to his party committee precinct post.

Miller said she had nothing against Ceasar personally. “This isn’t personal,” she said.

However, she loathes the job he has been doing as chairman.  She been trying to get him ousted for years.

But her beliefs didn’t help her win what was a tough contest among a few hundred voters in west Plantation.

Tuesday wasn’t a total disaster for Miller.  She won a heavily contest race in an open House seat in southwest Broward.  Her candidate Rick Stark came out in front in a three-way race for the open seat.

There was one consultant who did very well Tuesday – Michael Ahearn.

A lawyer and political junkie who trained with Judy Stern but broke with her, Ahearn was the manager of Katie Leach’s surprise School Board sweep and had a big role in Dale Ross’s re-election to the bench.  We’ll be hearing a lot from him.

If there are other consultant out there I missed, let me know about your victories at Browardbeat@hotmail.com. I guess it is too much to ask folks to write about their losses.


21 Responses to “A Bad Day For Political Consultants”

  1. voter says:

    the consultants need to tell their clients – AKA “The candidates” – to concentrate on issues. Do you really think israel can beat lamberti?
    please. slinging mud and worse is not relevant to integrity in BSO and how our tax dollars are squandered.

  2. Rothschild race says:

    Sorry Buddy. Disagree with you on this one. Rothsvhild got outspent considerably by his opponent, who self funded her race with about 20k more than he raised.

    His opponent is also the spouse of a Dem Party official and political consultant who I’m sure called in every chit he ever had to help his wife win her race.

    So in the end, two candidates with the same experience (she’s actually got 5 more years as an atty on Rothschild) with different approaches (she self funded and Rothschild raised his money through donations) ran a neck and neck race.

    In the end, I wonder if your comment from a few months ago was prophetic. By using Shapiro as her name instead of Harris, the opponent was last on the ballot instead of first.

    In a 2:point race, was that the difference maker?


    I agree she outspent Rothschild, but other candidates win every year who get outspent. Money helps, but it isn’t everything. As far as her money, I have no idea where it went. The three likely voters in this household remember several advertising pieces from Rothschild. I don’t remember anything memorable from Harris.

    Julie Harris-Shapiro’s husband, Barry Harris, is not in the same class of consultants as David Brown. To use baseball terminology, Brown is the majors and Harris is the minors. Brown has collected more “chits” in his career than Harris. Also, when you are in the majors, you are expected to do better than produce a razor-thin victory.

    Everybody expected Rothschild to win. He almost didn’t and was running behind at some points in the evening.

    I believe Shapiro got as far as she did because of her compelling story — a welfare worker and a lawyer as a second career. And being female helped.

  3. Joe Paine says:

    “voter” In case you missed it, the next Sheriff of Broward County got 2/3 of the vote tonight. I guarantee you that’s not lost on Laimberti. Get off your high horse Israel is one tough campaigner and will be one tough Sheriff. I for one like that in a lawman

  4. voters win says:

    It was a good night for the voters with career politicians trying to beef up their pensions like Franklin Sands and Iliene Lieberman losing.
    All three incumbent judges won.
    Satz and Forman won easy. Leach and Korn will continue to do well. Rep Edwards will be a rising star in the Dem party. All in all good night for voters. They were well informed.

  5. David Brownnose says:

    After losing the Steve Geller election, I thought Brown would be ashamed. He went right back to telling everybody he is God of Politics.

  6. voter says:

    To Joe Paine –
    not registered Dem so couldn’t vote yesterday (closed primary). don’t overlook all the others who couldn’t vote yesterday. and you think granteed supporters will vote for israel? maybe israel will be one tough sheriff. but first he needs to be elected.

  7. G.B. says:

    Not everybody had a bad day Buddy. 😉

  8. Concerned Citizen says:

    A good day for Broward County.

  9. Judysternwho? says:

    Ha- karma is a b@#ch. Congrats to Ahearn.

  10. Save the date says:

    Vote for John Fusaro this November for Sunrise Commission. Let’s take down another politician we don’t like.

  11. Michael G. Ahearn, Esq says:


    Thank you for your kind words.

    As for Judge Ross and SB Member Leach, I was merely member of a team in both campaigns that came together to do great things.

    When asked, I always say I am not a campaign manager, strategist etc. I am merely a lawyer who enjoys politics and more importantly, someone who will always be there for old friends. I went to high school with Katie Leach and both of Judge Ross’ daughters.

    I owe thanks to Judge Ross and Katie for giving me the opportunity to help them out.

    As important, I owe a huge thank you to all of the people who came out to support and volunteer for both candidates, without everyone working together we could not have done as well as we did.



  12. Observer says:

    It was a bad day for democrats based on the turn out.

  13. TDD says:

    I was really happy to see Broward voters (the handful that bothered to show up) go with a competent judicial candidate with actual courtroom experience over a career politician. Despite being NPA and having a limited ballot, that race along with the two at large SBBC races were primary (no pun intended) motivators to take the time to hit the polls.

  14. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Mike Ahearn is the hero huh, does anybody realize he practices law next to Seiler’ office. Jus sayin. Yeah you win, some you lose some. These poltical consulants will lose no sleep over all this in reagrds to won, who lost. These consulants will just keep going. Like a riddle that never ends.

  15. Shoes says:

    Many candidates win without consultants. These consultants often gauge unsuspecting candidates. Not having one is not fatal to running a successful campaign.

    Congrats to our incumbent judges on three wins! Two without political consultants behind them.

  16. What I see says:

    Ahern got a registered Republican, Rick Scott appointed School Board Member elected in a district which included heavily democrat area of plantation. That is pretty good.

  17. Judy says:

    Judys day wasn’t so bad, Tim Ryan won beating rodstrom, judge Gonzalez came in first out of 4, not to shabby.
    Why she agreed to help Mancini against Satz was just a dumb move

  18. Lori Parrish says:

    I voluntered on both Dale Ross’ and Katie Leach’s campaign. Mike Ahearn and his wife, Meg were a pleasure to work with. If I sent an email I received an immediate response. If I needed literature or signs, they were delivered the very next day.

    Kuddos to both of them.

  19. Worth Mentioning says:

    Sean Phillipi ran the Tim Ryan campaign and deserves credit for Tim’s victory. Tim himself always maintained that Stern had a very limited role helping with fund raising and cable. Sean did a great job with the day to day at the same time running a strong campaign for Nick Steffens.

    Congrats Sean

  20. Ted Just Adcock says:

    Sean P didn’t run Ryan. He printed walking lists. Barbra Stern was bragging about her mom’s role in campaign. Sean let Nick down yesterday. Total epic fail. All hail Amy Rose

  21. John Henry says:

    Business as usual in Broward–Shady attorneys helping other shady attorneys win elections. Haven’t we had enough of this type of people in office?????