Broward Politics: School Board Incumbent Lags In Campaign Cash





School Board member Ann Murray is being outraised by her reelection opponent two-to-one.

That’s nothing new for the incumbent, who was first elected in 2008.

During Murray’s last reelection, challenger Felicia Mychele Brunson, a West Park commissioner, had twice the campaign cash. Murray still managed to beat Brunson in 2014 by 294 votes.

This reelection cycle, longtime Democratic activist and union leader James Silvernale has $23,815 in contributions compared to Murray’s $10,241.

James Silvernale


Like Murray, who was a school bus transportation supervisor before her election, Silvernale’s experience comes from the blue-collar divisions of the School Board. He is a senior business development representative for the Federation of Public Employees, the union that represents many of those workers.

Silvernale also has deep roots in Broward’s political circles.

His late mother June Silvernale was a Port Everglades Commissioner in the 1970s and an activist in Dania Beach for many years.

James Silvernale has been a very visible Democrat for decades. He ran for office before and it was a disastrous loss — crushed 81-19 percent in a 1990 primary for state House by former state Rep. Anne Mackenzie, D-Fort Lauderdale.

Still, in this reelection, has the support of many Democratic leaders and elected officials. The host committee of his May campaign kick off was filled with well-known Democratic names including School Board member Robin Bartleman:





Silvernale has already received contributions from Democratic politicians such as County Commissioner Tim Ryan ($250) and Pembroke Pines Commissioner Iris Siple ($100). The International Union of Operating Engineers donated $1,000.

During Murray’s last reelection, Brunson hoped to ride a wave of protest against Murray’s highly-publicized use of the “N” word before she was elected.

Murray got some help defusing the issue from School Superintendent Robert Runcie. Runcie, who is African-American, quietly passed the word that he supported her reelection, according to political sources.

Murray has been a fairly consistent vote for Runcie.

4 Responses to “Broward Politics: School Board Incumbent Lags In Campaign Cash”

  1. Knows for Sure says:

    It’s early yet Buddy and Ms. Murray will raise plenty of money when the time comes. She has commitments for some significant contributions. No one’s going to scare her off with a “war chest” of $20 grand, if it can even be considered a war chest.

    Brunson lost because her entire campaign was centered on that n word issue, which has been addressed numerous times. People like you that consistently bring it up, over and over again, are beating a dead horse.
    Obviously, district 1 voters had enough confidence in Ms Murray to re-elect her.

    Brunson did not even carry her own precinct. In fact, Brunson had a poor showing in West Park, Carver Ranches and Miami Gardens. The African-American community there overwhelmingly supported Ms. Murray.

    Today, savvy campaign consultants know better than to trot out the names of well connected officials and politicians because most voters do not like or trust “well connected” people anymore.

    That often backfires on the name dropper.

    Ms. Murray will be re-elected.

  2. A reader says:

    Silvernale literally owns the union members. They march in lockstep at his command. They back any candidate who is a registered Democrat. He will receive more thousands of dollars from those union members and their families and friends.
    Question: Who will Silvernale represent as a School Board member, the students or the union members?


    Ann Murray was a union steward for the same union Silvernale represents when she was an employee for the school system and a second union.

  3. The real hurdle says:

    Voters see School Board as a woman’s position. Plus women will always vote for women. Since 2000 how many men have served on the BCSB? 2? Ben Williams and Dave Thomas. Many others have run and lost. I have not heard if this guy even has a spouse or kids? If not, another big strike against him.


    I agree that there seems to be a bias among voters to elect women to the School Board. It hasn’t always been that way since I can remember many School Board members like Bob Parks and Don Samuels holding office for years.

  4. Charlotte Greenbarg says:

    And after the experiences with Park and Samuels you can’t blame voters for being reluctant to get fooled a third time. Although some of the women haven’t been much better. Maybe it’s something in the water in the Crystal Palace