Broward Politics: Primary Election Observations




(After this piece was posted, Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes’ crew announced that 5,000 mail ballots arrived by mail and still need to be counted as of Wednesday afternoon.  Such mistakes are par for the course in the Broward elections office under Snipes. The new results could change some results on races commented on below.  Stay tuned.)




Democrats are giddy today after nominating progressive former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum as their candidate for governor. 

But the General Election won’t be about Gillum. It will be a referendum on Donald Trump.

At least, that’s what Democrats hope. Because the Trump factor will mask Gillum’s hard-left views. 



Andrew Gillum


Despite the tendency to demonize Trump inside the Democratic bubble, he still remains wildly popular among many voters.

The proof? There are more more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida. Yet more Florida Republicans voted in the primary than Democrats. The turnout indicates that Trump energized the GOP base by his endorsement of Ron DeSantis, who won Tuesday and will be Gillum’s Republican opponent. 

Democrats must offset this ability Trump has to turn out Republican voters. Ds must pinpoint the independents who dislike Trump and get them to the polls.  The ground game, however, is not something Democrats historically have played well in governor races.

Gillum will also have to overcome an antipathy among some voters to his positions, which are far to the left. And he will have to deal with over confidence among Democrats.

Ds’ are already calling DeSantis a pushover because of his connection to Trump. It’s a mistake!

DeSantis is no pushover. His resume appears stellar — a Yale and Harvard educated lawyer who served as a Naval officer in Iraq, plus three terms in Congress? 

And Gillum? An FAMU graduate, he was elected a Tallahassee city commissioner and now is the mayor of Tallahassee. 

As of now, most voters only know that Gillum is the first Afraican-American that Democrats ever nominated for governor. The Republicans will try to define him quickly.

It took DeSantis less than one day to use racist statements against his opponent. He used coded language by calling Gillum an “articulate spokesman” and warning voters not to “monkey this up” on Fox News.

If that is the way DeSantis is going to play it, watch for a backlash.

DeSantis is largely a puppet of Trump. It is the one holding pulling the strings in the White House that will swing this race.

Who becomes the next governor of Florida will be decided by events largely out of control of the candidates: How voters feel about Donald Trump.



A Differing Opinion

After I posted the analysis of the governor’s race, a Republican consultant contacted me with a different opinion.

“It feels like 2008 to me,” the consultant said.

That was the year President Barack Obama won.

The consultant said that Gillum would ride a wave of Democrats, independents and a few Republicans seeking change in Tallahassee.  The Republicans’ familiar playbook of attack ads won’t work against Gillum because the electorate is sick of them and wants something different.

Millions in attack ads backfired on Democrat Jeff Greene in the primary.

People want to vote for the new guy, Gillum, who has solid working class roots. With his Yale/Harvard background and his puppet strings tied to Trump, DeSantis feels very much like an old school pol, this consultant said.

Obviously, the GOP consultant doesn’t want his name used. His words should give Democrats more hope.


Bad School Board Opponents


Broward School Board members Donna Korn and Laurie Rich Levinson won on Tuesday. It was more a facet of their opponents’ weakness than approval of the school system. 


Donna Korn



Fueled by the desire for more school safety in the wake of the Parkland shooting, the opponents appeared to have little grasp of other school issues. Their supporters came across as angry, entitled brats as they confronted voters at the polls. 

Korn and Levinson’s victory also were partially the work of Broward Teachers Union paid-workers who flooded polling places. 

BTU forces couldn’t put veteran union leader Jim Silvernale over the top. Incumbent Ann Murray beat him by 3 percentage points, but not enough to avoid a runoff. 

It was 36.6 percent for Murray, versus 33.4 for Silvernale. Fifty percent plus one is needed by School Board members to avoid a runoff. 

Murray is Broward’s premier symbol of why Term Limits are needed. South Broward voters will get another chance to vote against her in November. 


Still Waiting For Runcie’s Congratulation 


Korn and Levinson are some of Superintendent Robert Runcie’s biggest supporters on the School Board. So their victory was welcomed by the controversial Runcie. 

But he also suffered a major defeat, the easy reelection of member Nora Rupert.

Runcie took the unusual step of throwing everything he could muster at Rupert.  She turned the other cheek.

Rupert won Runcie’s ire by doing her job — questioning him and his policies at meetings. Apparently Runcie doesn’t like his decisions questioned.

So during the just completed campaign, Runcie openly worked for Rupert’s defeat. He raised money for her opponent Mike Olbel, sources say. 

It didn’t help.

Rupert beat Olbel by 59-31 percent.

The idea that a School Superintendent worked against a School Board member  is outrageous.

Also outrageous is his petty rudeness.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Runcie had yet to call Rupert to congratulate her.

That’s nothing new. He has yet to congratulate her for her victory four years ago.

Yet Runcie showed up at Levinson’s victory party. 

All this leads some School Board activists to hope those Dump Runcie bumper stickers making the rounds the past week catch on. When a superintendent becomes controversial enough to spark bumper stickers against him, it could be time for him to leave. 




Oy Gevalt!


The number of judicial candidates who lost on Tuesday could almost make a minyan. (The 10 adults required for certain prayers.)

Once having a Jewish-sounding name was the route to the bench. Not anymore. 

The judicial candidates with Jewish-sounding names who didn’t win on Tuesday include Alan B. Schneider, Jason Allen-Rosner, Karen Elizabeth Berger, Leonore M. Greller, Rhoda Ann Sokoloff (again!), Allison Gilman, Kristin Weisberg Padowitz and Stephen Leslie Lustig. 

Rosner and Gilman trailed their opponents, but got enough to be in a runoff. The rest are history.


Veteran Challenger Tries Again


Republican hopeful Joseph Kaufman easily beat lawyer Carlos Reyes and Trump-fanatic Carla Spalding on Tuesday. Kaufman now has the dubious right to run against U. S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston in the General Election. 


Joseph Kaufman


It is familiar ground for Kaufman, who lost to Wasserman Schultz in 2012,2014 and 2016.  Didn’t somebody once define insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”?

Kaufman is crazy….like a fox. 

Wasserman Schultz is literally hated in some conservative circles for her former leadership of the Democratic National Committee. And her friendship with Hillary Clinton.

Kaufman raises hundreds of thousands each cycle just because his opponent is Wasserman Schultz!

With that money and the nomination, Kaufman can both pay expenses and have a forum for his anti-Islam views.  


Democrat Gets Unlikely Support


State Rep. Jared Moskowitz easily won reelection. He had help from some corners of the political world who would usually oppose a Democrat from Broward County. 

Nationally known anti-Muslim activists like Laura Loomer tweeted that voters should watch out for Moskowitz’s opponent Imtiaz Ahmad Mohammad. Loomer called Mohammad a “Sharia fan boy.”

Pretty strange support for a guy who was one of President Barack Hussein Obama’s fiercest supporter in Broward.

Moskowitz and Obama

17 Responses to “Broward Politics: Primary Election Observations”

  1. NW Broward MODO says:

    Let’s congratulate “cheap seats” Annie. Had she not won, the people of the city of Boston would have been to blame for her failure.

    The mass exodus out of Parkland will happen- just in time to leave those who couldn’t be bothered voting with the gift of a fat tax increase.
    Congratulations to the winners. You win.

  2. Lisa Maxwell says:


    I believe Ann Murray and Jim Silvernale will be in a run-off in November General Election.


    That’s in the piece.

  3. Informed says:

    Not sure how giddy the Dems can be for a candidate that won with only 34% of his own party’s vote. Gillum won because Greene and Levine split the party vote from Graham, particularly in SoFl and left her short. Not for his progressive agenda . Watch how fast the party and press try to make him a “moderate “ in the next two months.

  4. Name Game says:

    You skipped over Richard “Beat My Wife Please” Kaplan looking like he squeaked a win against Michael “I swear I’m actually Jewish” Usan purely on the name game.

    Kaplan spent nothing on his race other than the filing fee and a few shekels for handouts at the polls and picked a race against an incumbent judge who was a decorated veteran with a wealth of experience.

    There’s zero excuse for that race other than the Kaplan name.

    You also forgot to add Jewish sounding Kristin Weisberg Padowitz who lost after spending close to a quarter million on her race against Shari Africk-Olefsen.


    You are right about Padowitz. I added her.

  5. Harry T. Wilson says:

    You are old and don’t know what you are talking about. People want the fat cats who benefitted from Trump’s economy to pay their fair share of taxes. Gillum will even the playing field and end the income inequality.

  6. A Proud Republican says:

    The Democrats nominated Gillum who is so far to the left he could be in Castro’s government. I Thank God for DeSantis.

  7. annon says:

    You didn’t mention Sen Gary Farmer being targeted by Republicans and winning. That is a mistake since anyone in Fort Lauderdale got what seemed like a dozen ads against him making false charges.

  8. Christopher Smith says:

    Buddy, I read your allegations of the superintendent raising money for Olbel a while ago and decided to remain silent while the race was going on. I worked closely with the campaign and can state for the record that there were no funds raised by the superintendent. There were conversations with the business community initiated by myself and Mike, not at the behest of the superintendent. Your sources are incorrect. I wish we had more funds to communicate more.


    Christopher Smith is a former state representative (1998-2006) and a former state Senator (2008-2016), including one term as the Florida Senate Minority (Democratic) Leader (2012-2014). He is currently the Broward Legislative Delegation’s counsel and currently Of Counsel with the Tripp Scott law firm’s government affairs division in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

  9. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    What’s also not mentioned about Farmer is that he “cooked up” the scheme with Rep. McGhee to bring up the assault weapon ban on the floor of the House even though he knew it couldn’t be heard because of the House rules. The young woman in the gallery was crying when the ruling was made. He and his henchman McGhee didn’t care about emotionally abusing her or the others, they just needed to do their stunt to try to embarrass the Speaker.I hope karma visits both of them.

  10. A fly on the wall says:

    How ironic that thousands and thousands of Cubans and Venezuelans fled their countries to live in a democratic society and the Democrats are trying to turn that society into socialism!

    Note to Gillum: Margaret Thatcher — ‘The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.’

  11. Don’t forget ... says:

    No mention of the upset victory of Nicolas Kimaz over the blogger Javi Manjarres endorsed by Rubio and Bondi? Kimaz was out raised about 10-1 and still won due to Javi’s background issues and beef with local Republican leaders.

  12. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    First and foremost congrats to Mayor Gullium.He won fair and square and i have a great deal of respect for that outcome( fair and square).Now the breakdown.Who ever came up with Souls to the polls- u r a genius.What a great turn out and proved to send Gillium over the top.This democratic primary- to many cooks in the kitchen.Between that snake oil salesman, with money( and lots of it) .To Graham, Levine , to the other guy there actually hurt esp.Graham.Levine stood out to me like a new penny.Very sharp.Greene come on- take your money and beat it.If Gillium was coy here i would pick Levine as his way here you get the Jewish vote and the independents.Yes.Levine is also an environmentalist.Alot of Ind.favor and endorse and belief in climate change.Then Gillium from Tallahasee gets the southern portion of the state.He got Broward- a given.With the jewish vote u get Dade and Palm beach.Now for the Republicans side.Disanti is it.Your a mess.Lose 50 pounds.Get some sleep and find a tailor to make u look the part.Also with your ” monkey comment” beyound stupid.U might as well pick Putnam as your lt gov- he will bring in old money from these born and raised Floridians.You need to apologize to Gillium- yesterday.Now for stragety.Bring on the Feds.The city of Tallahasee is under FBI surveillance.Bring out the criminal activity up there.Make Gillium guilty by asc.Stress this.Bring this out.Good luck to both…

  13. Walter says:

    People are just sick of the Washington establishment. Trump won because he was NOT a member of the Washington establishment but people with common sense are starting to realize that he is a crook and a con man. Real people (not the wealthy) in Florida are suffering. Andrew G is offering something different. He has a real chance.

  14. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    Correction its DeSantis.Also while watching Meet the Press etc observing Mayor Gullium i don.t think he is as innocent as he portrayed himself regatding the FBI sting etc.I think his buddy is going to flip and soon…

  15. Better tell the truth says:

    Trying to keep arms length in any dealings as an elected when family members get involved is a big mistake, esp. when the DOJ/Feds come calling. If in fact the older brother was paid by the undercover feds, there will lots of other stuff to explain. Better hope this local Tally rag is wrong-

  16. Le Peerman says:

    Chris Smith can you kindly get your candidates signs picked up. They didn’t work in Margate and they make your candidate look like an inconsiderate person.
    Le Peerman

  17. Huh? says:

    Question. How is it Brenda Snipes mistake that 10,000 voters chose to return absentee ballots last minute? Something that’s never happened before? How is she at fault for that?…..