Broward Politics: Handicapping An Independent Win In A Democratic County


Politics is the realm of possibilities. 

What ifs and Maybes float in the air at every fund raiser and campaign rally. Three cable news networks are stuffed with speculation daily.

With that in mind, let’s calculate the chance that independent candidate Sheila Alu’s can win her race for Broward State Attorney.  

It’s a long shot. Remember that long shots sometimes win.

Alu is a complex figure. I wrote a brief biography of her here seven years ago.

The reason that Alu can win is a fact of politics. Most of the hundreds of thousands who vote in the 2020 General Election won’t know much about the State Attorney candidates. Because of her first name, they will know Sheila Alu is a woman. 

Some voters will automatically vote for a woman when they don’t know any of the candidates. And the primary results may give Alu a big advantage because of her gender.

Currently there are seven Democrats running to replace retiring State Attorney Mike Satz. Only two Democrats are women — Sarahnell Murphy and Teresa Williams.  

With that many candidates, anybody could win including one of the five males. If a male does win, the General ballot will have female Alu facing a male Democratic nominee. (There is currently no Republican candidate, which might change at some point.) 

Alu will have that gender advantage. 

For many of the Broward voters, however, the default is to vote Democratic. Roughly half of the county’s voters are registered Democrats. 

Yet Alu was a partisan Democrat most of her career. She was even at one time the executive director of the Broward Democratic Party. 

Her time at the Democratic Party helped perfect campaign skills, which she put to use winning a seat on the Sunrise City Commission. She is no political novice. 

Also working in Alu’s favor is that voters are rejecting party labels. They are registering in droves as No Party Affiliation (NPA, which is independent). 

Alu may have another advantage. Many voters believe that the State Attorney should be an independent because that they can prosecute anybody without fear of ruffling the Democratic Party establishment. Alu cleverly referenced that sentiment in her campaign kickoff news release: 

“Our Country has been polarized by partisan politics like never before. As headlines remind us every day, politics and justice don’t mix. That’s why I’m running as an independent candidate without party affiliation (NPA).  Nothing will get in the way of my work — and my fight — for you.”

Stitching together an independent win in Democratic Broward would take a great deal of luck.

The cards could fall right. The underdog could win. Alu could end up the next State Attorney. Despite her independent label.

Don’t count her out….yet.   


Alu will also need money to run. She is already behind her Democratic challengers:

  • Saranell Murphy has raised $57,436 and has loaned her campaign another $50,000. Outgoing State Attorney Mike Satz donated $250 to her.
  • Josh Rydell has collected $54,000, including $5,025 of his own money. 
  • Teresa Williams has $13,210 from donors and has also loaned her campaign $50,000.
  • Harold F. Pryor Jr. has $50,036 from donors. 
  • Joseph Kimok has raised $15,163.
  • Jim Lewis has raised $5,700 and has loaned his campaign $6,000.
  • David Cannady has contributions of $1,225. 
  • Alu hasn’t been running long enough to report her finances.

It is my view that none of these candidates have enough money yet to make a difference in a countywide race on a crowded primary ballot. 

One Democrat has a goal of raising $500,000.  That kind of money might help…their campaign consultants’ standard of living. 

Just remember candidates: Consultants have a vested interest in having you raise and spend more and more money. 

The majority of voters in this race will be swayed by a name, ethnicity or gender. That could help Alu be the next State Attorney. 

5 Responses to “Broward Politics: Handicapping An Independent Win In A Democratic County”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    What is key here with Atty.Alu and the other canidates is an endorsement from current SA Mike Says.That it would be a feather in their hat.What Alu here( and others) is they need to convey to the voters that not only will they protect the residents but come across to the residents that they care about the welfare etc of the resident.They all need a little spunk.Let your hair down.Relate to the residents that u r one of them and want to make a difference.Good luck to all of them.( Would have like to have seen former Ft.Lau Mayor Jack Seiler- my take bet to heavy that Graham was going to prevail as governor)..


    Saranell Murphy received a donation from Satz.

  2. FTL Voter says:

    This is mostly pipe dream speculation, and these independent candidates on the ballot always always always play out the same in Broward for the past 20+ years. If there is a Democrat, Republican and NPA on the ballot, the Democrat will win with roughly 60%, maybe a bit more in a presidential year. The NPA will get 2-5% (at most). If it is just a two-way race with Democrat versus NPA, then a bunch of the R’s will vote for the NPA and the Democrat will win roughly 75-25. And it really doesn’t matter how good or bad the NPA candidate is. This is just how it always plays out. Maybe is a multimillionaire independent self-financed to the tune of a million dollars or more, it could be different – but not by much.

  3. Barack Obama says:

    50k is like pissing into the ocean in a county of 1.5 million people. What’s the point of even raising money?

  4. Frank says:

    FTL Voter is right

  5. Ds Forever says:

    This is a fantasy. Only Democrats can win in Broward.