Broward History Is Filled With Former Reps Turned Demos…Like Charlie Crist





The mumbling complaints continue from Progressive Democrats about Charlie Crist not being a “real Democrat.”

Some even threaten to stay home Nov. 4.

Here is a quick history lesson for the Progressives.

Broward’s history is filled with former Republicans who went on to become some of the county’s leading Democratic office holders.

Former County Commission aide Stephen Popiel reminded me of some in an e-mail. I added others.

Here is a short list:


  • Ed Stack was perhaps Broward’s most powerful elected political figure in the 1970s. He was a Republican sheriff who was a member of Richard Nixon’s infamous Committee To ReElect The President (CREEP) in 1972. Seeing the changing demographics in Broward and the fallout from Watergate, Stack switched parties and was elected to Congress as a Democrat.


  • Fred Lippman, a Hollywood pharmacist, was a Republican when he was appointed to the governing board of the South Broward Hospital District in 1969 by GOP Gov. Claude Kirk. He switched to the Democratic Party and ran a losing race for Congress in 1976. He was then elected to the state House, where he served for 10 terms. Today Lippman is chancellor of Nova Southeastern’s health schools.


  • John Rodstrom was a Fort Lauderdale commission and a leader of Broward’s Young Republican in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Republican Gov. Bob Martinez appointed him mayor of Sunrise. As the Republican candidate for state Senate in 1990, he lost to Ken Jenne. A month after his defeat,  Rodstrom switched to the Democratic Party and two years later, won a seat on the County Commission, beating Republican Ed Kennedy.


  • William “Bill” Markham was elected nine times as a Republican to the office of Broward Property Appraiser. In September 2003, Markham, the last countywide Republican remaining in Broward, became a Democrat and prepared to run for re-election. He died of a heart attack in March 2004.


  • Richard Stark was not only a Republican. He was the treasurer of the Broward Republican Party and a founder of the Weston Republican Club. Then he switched parties and in 2012, Stark was elected to the state House in southwest Broward. He was re-elected without opposition this year.


I could go on. I believe I made my point.

Every one of those Broward pols mentioned switched his party registration. They did so prior to running for office in a county where it is easier to win as a Democrat. Dare I say, they did it for personal political expediency?

Some of them took very conservative positions as Republicans. Their political philosophies evolved…just like Charlie Crist.




20 Responses to “Broward History Is Filled With Former Reps Turned Demos…Like Charlie Crist”

  1. Ghost of McLovin says:

    Of course Broward History is filled with Republican’s turned Democrats – Broward’s Democrat voters (as a group) vote blindly for their party, regardless of merit, ability or worthiness. This county is plagued with horrible politicians that got elected merely because they put a (D) after their name, regardless of their true political beliefs. Right Sheriff Israel?

  2. InaGaddaDaVida says:

    Do you think, a la Ronald Reagan, some of these people might say they didn’t leave the Republican Party, but the Republican Party left them?

  3. Paul says:

    And there’s another casualty of changing parties for political power brokers: Florida House candidate Scottie Herman in District 93.

    Has anyone had a conversation with Scottie? Unfortunately, for us dems, he is a know-nothing that the GOP gave up for scraps and never supported. He says it was because he is a gay man, but something tells me he never had financial backing because of his poor fiscal past and could not be trusted with a simple campaign budget, let alone a $77 billion state budget.

    How does Scottie feel about the education system? Because on his website and on multiple other pages he talks about the importance of high school students obtaining their GRE?? I believe what you mean, Scottie, is that you want students to obtain their GED!!

    The GRE is the Graduate Records Exam for college students wanting to gain their masters degree. Yet, Scottie has peppered the internet with this being a “high priority issue” for him when he gets to Tallahassee for our education system. Looks like someone needs to go back to school. Good luck, I would love to see this debate on the House floor.

    Here is the typo-infested info from Scottie’s website:

    Education: When elected I will work to implement a series of changes I am dubbing, “L.I.G.H.T.”, which will stand for Loans, Interdisciplinary, GRE, Hiring, and Technology, but not necessarily in that order…
    …G: GRE’s are important not just because they allow non-traditional students to pursue higher education. I wish to encourage ever citizen in the State of Florida to at least reach their GRE. If our education level rises, we become a better state as a whole.

    I saw him speak once, at a forum for children, and all he was able to talk about was veteran affairs… great, we get it, and we truly appreciate the service. But there is more to the state gov then vet affairs in Tally. Does he know condo association law? Moraitis does. Does he understand title, homeowner, and flood insurance law? Moraitis does. These are things that matter. Is Scottie a vet? Yes.. but so is Moraitis!

    The one time I heard Scottie speak, I could only think back to the movie Billy Madison and the puppy story: At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    And as much as I hate to say this, Moraitis is a solid individual, whom is also a highly decorated veteran and served as a Navy submarine commander! He also is the breadwinner of the county for state funding for important projects here.

    Moraitis kills it in beach renourishment funding (has been awarded the legislator of the year for his hard work) and he helps Port Everglades every chance he gets. He also helps people in the community. He personally helped my family member in a dire situation and stopped at nothing until justice was served. This is why I am a D, but will be voting R-Moraitis in nov.

    Is Scottie really who you want representing you in Tallahassee? He’s just another flip flopper and he doesn’t have half the credentials of the guys mentioned in this article. Moraitis knows what needs to be done, and he knows how to do it. And he won’t be switching his party or principles for political expediency any time soon.

  4. John Henry says:

    More like career politicians turned democrat to further their political career.

    I don’t think these people cared what letter came after their name just as long as they got elected into office again.

  5. Daniel Reynolds says:

    The parties tend to be pulled to the left or the right by their respective activist wings that have more influence in the primary candidate selection process. Over time as they move farther from the center, where most Americans are politically, centrists feel alienated. Ronald Reagan, Bob Martinez are examples of Dems who became disillusioned and switched to the Republican party. Now there are some in the R party switching to D. They all say the same thing,”I didn’t leave the party, the party left me.”

  6. The Guess Who says:

    You of course forgot:

    Barbara Shareif

    Scott Israel

    Katie Edwards

    (And FWIW, John Rodstrom is the actual definition of a DINO. Rick Stark has done a very amicable job in the Fl. House supporting Democratic/progressive issues. John did no such thing, ever.)

  7. Evolution says:

    There’s also:
    -Scott Israel (R to D after Crist didn’t appoint him Sheriff)
    -Barbara Sharief used to be a Republican (I think)
    -Scott Herman (R to D after losing in 2012)
    -Bill Markham’s son switched too when he ran for his dad’s job but lost to Lori Parrish
    -Angelo Castillo (I think switched)
    -Troy Samuels (switched to independent and now a D after losing city commission race in Miramar)
    -Al Jones (switched back and forth a bunch of times, who knows what he is now)
    -Think Judge Carlos Rebollo switched back and forth (not sure what he is currently)
    -Weston Commissioner Jim Norton (used to be R, now an Independent I think)
    -there are probably plenty more.

  8. carolina says:

    I hate this new format I am seeing for the Broward Beat. What happened, Buddy? This is not good for your loyal followers. I would really appreciate a response to my post!

  9. CityActivist Robert Walsh says:

    To sum it up-“whatever it takes”…

  10. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Carolina said it perfectly. I can’t even refer to her comment properly now, because comments are no longer numbered. No more list of recent comments either. No more Twitter summary. New font is harder to read. What little there was in the way of graphics is now gone as well. Nothing is improved, and just about everything is now broken.


    I had server problems. Thank you for your patience.

  11. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    I did switch and it was an emotional thing because I didn’t want to insult my father over it. You see, I was raised in a traditional Cuban American family and so being a Republican was just the way it was with us. What being a Republican meant in those days became totally dislodged with what being an Republican in my day. Back then, Republicanism was about being fiscally conservative — which never meant being cheap, just not wasteful. Believing in individual personal responsibility — which meant working hard and expecting that of others, but not making excuses to not help the old, the homeless, the sick or any child in need. It meant being a capitalist — which is no excuse for being greedy, not generous, unethical, or without any sense of corporate social responsibility. It meant fighting communism, which meant not allowing them to carry out their mission of world domination — not because they like public education for all and have universal health care, which TR wanted (Republican) when he was president. You could be Richard Nixon and create the EPA or the EEOC, or ordering a rent control freeze because that’s what the nation’s economy needed. It meant being Eisenhower, who taxed the rich more, the middle class less, and was loved by all for doing it, because this was good for America. It meant being Reagan and offering immigration amnesty, because it made sense and because it’s humane. But when being a Republican required me to become harsh, overly judgmental of others, selfish — as I saw it — a distance started creeping into me. I didn’t feel I belonged there anymore. I needed something else, and I found that I could be the moderate I’ve always been and still be welcomed within the Democratic Party. Moderates were no longer welcomed in the Republican party. So I left. It wasn’t a question of labels. It was a question of philosophies, they changed. Today, nobody questions whether I’m a Democrat because of how I’ve done business for over a decade. Republicans and Independents still like me also, not because I’m a Democrat. But because I’m a moderate. Which I sense many of them would like to become. But they haven’t yet pulled the trigger and made the switch like I did. Peace.


  12. G. Man says:

    Angelo, you are SOOO FULL of it!!!
    As Robert Walsh said, “what ever it takes.”
    You switch because of political expediency.
    If your district turned republican, I have no doubt you’d switch to republican.
    Who are you trying to fool!
    You insult me, with your arrogance, thinking we would all fall for that crap you wrote.
    Should have stayed quiet!

  13. Triptrey says:

    Angelo, thanks for saying what a great number of people are really feeling.

    According to a Gallup Poll report dated January 8, 2014, a record-high 42% of Americans identify themselves as Independents in 2013. This is the highest number since Gallup started measuring some 25 years ago. While this might be a surprise, the reason for this meteoric increase in those Americans who identify as Independents is the steady and swift decline of those identifying as Republicans, which fell to 25% at the time of this report. Democrats on the other hand, have remained steady at 31% over the last four years. Clearly, according to Gallup, the Republicans have paid the price for Independent status more so than Democrats. Over the past 8 years, the decline in those identifying as Republican’s has been steady from a high of 34% in 2004.

    And while Charlie Crist may or may not be a true Democrat, it won’t really matter one way or the other if the Democrats don’t get out and vote. Besides, as you very nicely said here, it’s what he does that matters, not what clothing he wears.

  14. Night Watchman says:

    Mr. Castillo I want to thank you for your post. Although your posts are always informative , especially in regards to municipal governance , your associations have in the past cast you in a negative light. You always seem to be running with the pay-to-play insiders. This might still be true BUT my idea of you is evolving. Your post above is excellent. Thank you.

  15. Ana Gomez-Mallada says:

    Is your point that if you switch parties just to get elected it is OK because other have done it? Didn’t your Mother ever say some version of “If Joey jumps out the window are YOU going to jump out the window?” And still, the enormous difference between all of those folks you mentioned and Charlie “the Windsock” Crist is that he actively flip-flopped on his positions to suit the winds. He deliberately prevaricates to leave himself plenty of wiggle room. In voting for all those folks you mentioned, the voter had a pretty good idea what to expect of the candidate. In Charlie’s case all you can expect is that when you need him to be there for you he may be. Depending on whether it is good for him at that particular time. Don’t be fooled. Charlie “the Windsock” Crist is UNRELIABLE.

  16. web site momentary lapse of reason says:

    Buddy- thank you for sticking with “Broward Beat . com” tradition with the site and your web master.

    Its “user” friendly for your long time followers and we are creatures of habit…..

    @Charlotte Greenburg – not to worry. sbbc $800MM will be defeated/they are desperate even repubs are getting mailers with kids smiling holding papers speling out S-A-F-E-T-Y for the stupid deal. (note the diversity in color of kids).

    they already see the writing on the wall and resort to this desperation.

    ps CSC will be DOA on nov 4 too!!

  17. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Ana —

    Ana Gomez Mallada and I became instant friends in the 90’s when I was still a Republican. She personally remembers my feelings of conflict because I discussed it all with her. At that time, I had no sense I would ever run for office.

    Ana’s a good person, a great lawyer, smart, sincere, and authentic. Same goes for Georgette Sosa Douglas. Both friends saw me struggle as I drifted away, and my decision to switch disappointed them both. But they understood and we’ve remained friends.

    Lori Parrish saw the same thing, but she confronted me about it around 1999. Lori’s never once failed to give me good advice, and knew me well enough to see I no longer belonged there. She said so. She made me confront it. She told me I was in denial and weak for not taking a stand on something so basic.

    She was right. My remaining attachment was purely emotional.

    So if you’re sincere, it’s OK to switch. But then you need to live that life and if you do, fine.

    Switching parties only becomes a problem if you’re not sincere. You can’t fool anybody because you’re still you. And loss of credibility comes with that choice. It has to be genuine. And if you’re genuine about it then you never run away from talking about it.

    You invite that discussion, you don’t run from it.


  18. John Henry says:


    “Switching parties only becomes a problem if you’re not sincere. You can’t fool anybody because you’re still you. And loss of credibility comes with that choice.”

    LOL. Can’t stop laughing. You made my day!

  19. Real Deal says:

    Newspaper today reports that non-partisan Mayor Carlos Jimenez of Miami Dade County wants to switch parties and become a Democrat saying he is an independent thinker. You just don’t see many Democrats becoming Republicans these days.

  20. Also Attended says:

    Well done Castillo and well said.