Update: Demo Candidate Is Former GOP Activist



A one-time Republican activist is trying to win the Democratic nomination for a Florida House seat.

It’s House District 104, in extreme southwest Broward.

Democratic candidate Richard “Rick” Stark was not just a Republican .  He didn’t just once register as a Republican…like, maybe, Democratic Sheriff’s candidate Louis Granteed.

Stark was the elected treasurer of the Broward Republican Executive Committee, the county’s GOP organization.  He was also the founder of the Weston Republican Club.

He put his money where his beliefs were: 2002 and 2010 he gave money to Republicans Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, state House member Adam Hasner and Susan Goldstein and Gov. Charlie Crist.

Strangely, Stark also gave money to Democratic gubernatorial candidates Bill McBride and Alex Sink while he was a Republican activist.

Sometime along the way, Stark became a Democrat.  This was about the time he started running for the state House in Broward, a Democratic-leaning county.

Stark’s campaign consultant is former School Board member Marty Rubinstein, a Democrat.

Another fact about Stark is that consultant Barbara Miller has a role in the background of his campaign.


Barbara Miller: Helping Former Republican Activist

That’s very, very interesting since this is the same Miller who is behind the attempts to topple Democratic Party Chair Mitch Ceasar for a “true Democrat”.

“You are right that I believe in the Democratic Party and am dedicated to changing it,” Miller told me.  “That’s why I’m convinced that Rick is serious when he says he is a Democrat…Often times people who take a stand to switch (parties) are more dedicated than those just born into it.”

A decade ago in Northwest Broward, a state House candidate was crushed  in the Democratic primary when it was revealed she gave donations to Republicans.  Stark is hoping times have changed.

Another Democratic candidate in House District 104 is Robin Behrman, Miami-Dade school administrator She gave a few shekels to Republicans over the years ($100 to state House member Ellyn Bogdanoff in 2010) but a lot to Democrats like gubernatorial candidates Alex Sink ($500) and Rod Smith ($500).

The third candidate is Alanna Mersinger, who has been a politicial activist in Miramar for a long time.  She appears at this point the only candidate in the Democratic primary who has not flirted with the GOP.


19 Responses to “Update: Demo Candidate Is Former GOP Activist”

  1. Suzie Says says:

    Mersigner is a carpet bagger. She lives in Miramar which is not even in the district! Why didn’t she run in her own house race?

    A candidate legally doesn’t have to live in the district until they take office.

  2. Suzie Says says:

    A candidate can also legally run for office having previously changed party affiliation.

    The question is are they upfront about it. Stark has been upfront about it. Granteed was not.

    Mersinger doesn’t want anybody to know she lives in Miramar and Behrman is a total question mark.

    If you question where candidates stand on the issues, ask them.

  3. Plain Language says:

    I agree. A party change alone says nothing. Reagan was a Democrat once. The issue is what they believe and do they tell the truth.

  4. West Davie Resident says:

    Buddy, instead of focusing on partisan theatrics, you would serve your readers better by focusing on who has the best experience, qualifications, and positions for the voters in the district. Rick shares the fiscal conservatism of the area while agreeing with their more moderate social positions. Plus his friendly relationships with his former GOP associates will help the district greatly in getting things done for them in Tallahassee. And lastly there are other local Dem politicians with past membership in the GOP.


    Past membership is one thing. The former treasurer of the party is another.

    I couldn’t care less about his past GOP connections. I don’t live in that district. And I do vote for the person, not the party.

    I do find it interesting that these highly partisan Democrats, like Weston’s Ann Zucker and Barbara Miller, are backing somebody who just three years ago who’s key involvement in politics was to beat Democrats. That’s what members of the Broward County Republican Executive Committee are dedicated to do.

    Zucker has added her comments here, and Miller said she believes that he is a true Democrat.

    Since you brought it up, I checked out his positions? He has four on his website:

    (1) “We need a strong voice in the Legislature that understands the ins and outs of health care”. If you love insurance companies, you’ll love Stark. He is an insurance agent. Can you spell special interest?
    (2) “We must have a strong voice in the legislature that understands insurance on a first hand basis.” See my comment above.
    (3) “We must have a strong voice in the Legislature that will work to protect public education.” Sure, a freshman Democrat will have a say in anything that goes on in the Legislature.
    (4) “We must have a strong voice in the Legislature that will fight to protect those who protect and serve us.” See my comment to #3.

    Then again, maybe a former Republican will be able more acceptable to the Leadership in Tallahassee? Voters will have to decide this one.

  5. BRECy says:

    Stark is a Republican for sure. He just thinks he can change his party and walk away from us. Stand up and be proud of who you really are Rick. Do you and Rick Scott share monogramed items?

  6. Lamberti is garbage says:

    Lameo would be a Demo if he thought it would get him elected. Party affiliation means nothing to these frauds. It is all about power and money.

  7. Just ask Nan says:

    Senator Rich was attacked during a campaign partially orchestrated by Stark. Ask her how much money he raised for her opponent and how nasty that race was.

    Stark is a smarmy fellow. He claims to have been a teacher, but I think he lasted a year maybe? Check out his contributions. Pocket of insurance companies, for sure.

  8. Just Sayin' says:

    Behrman did more than just give $100 to Bogdnoff. She gave to other radical Republicans including $500 to ultra conservative Rep Alan Hays, $250 to Rep Rene Garcia, and $100 to Rep Greg Evers. Hays is so right wing that he has won the Christian Coalition’s Faith & Family Award four times — and Evers won that same award three times. I think Behrman has some explaining to do, too.

  9. Suzie Says says:

    Rick Stark supports Democratic values and that’s why top local Democrats stand with him. They do not question his values and neither should anybody else.

    With respect, your four points above are the kind of argument a sixth grader offers in a school yard.

    Stark’s two top issues are increasing school funding and advancing health care reform. Few Republicans support either. But Rick has the credibility to talk to them while his opponents will be totally ignored.

    Stark’s ultra liberal opponents will not get anything done in Tallahassee. They will be ignored and their presence there will rob voters of true representation. Rick Stark offers a chance for our needs to be met. He has some chance to succeed while representing our goals. On that reasoning alone he earned my vote.

    As for the “are you now or have you ever been a member of the blank party” routine, I find it insulting. I thought we got past that kind of thing a long time ago. People can change parties and there’s nothing wrong with it when done for the right reasons and not hidden. Rick Stark did it for the right reasons and he has been totally up front about it.

    When are we going to have campaigns on the issues instead of this constant mud slinging?

  10. Suzie Says says:

    Further, if we are going to look at campaign reports, take a quick look at Alana Mersinger’s extensive portfolio. This will give you a clear indication of her support. There is none.

    Mersinger is not a serious candidate. At a time when creating jobs is so important, the business community locally and statewide has no confidence in her at all. She’s not even getting the “cover-my-butt just in case checks” from corporate supporters. They know who has a chance. They do polls. Mersinger has no chance of winning this race.

    Very clearly, the 104 race comes down to Rick Stark and Robin Behrman.

    As for ultra-liberal Robin Behrman her husband is a major lobbyist in Tallahassee who has raised her thousands of dollars from out of town to help her get elected. Is there anything left to say?

    No matter how you slice it Rick Stark is the only logical choice in this race. That’s why he will win.

  11. Ann Zucker says:

    Buddy, since you asked for an explanation, I can easily give you one. More than three years ago, when the Tea Party came to power, Rick came to me and told me he could no longer, in good conscience, support the values of the Republican party. Rick became an active member of the Weston Democratic Club, and subsequently joined our Board, fighting hard for issues that matter to us, such as education and the Affordable Health Care act. Rick and his wife Debbi have also helped our club to grow, and have proven his embrace of our issues. I also understand that Rick’s reversion to Republicanism was a business decision as with many candidates. As your posters noted, Robin has also been active with Republican candidates, at this point it is a non issue and the WDC will be proud to support whichever candidate is chosen to carry the Democratic banner to Tallahassee.


    Very good explanation or your position as president of the Weston Democratic Club and Rick’s. I appreciate you participating.

  12. Helios says:

    I think Buddy’s point is that there is a difference between writing a couple of checks and actively campaigning against the opposition and then turning around and trying to convince the people you are trashing that you now are with them. Sounds like Vinnie Vincenzo – “I’m wich you”

    Behrman came to our door and we talked with her for quite some time. She was very candid and we liked her immediately. So this piece intrigued me enough to look up a few things about Behrman. I have also heard all three candidates – not much, but enough. Mersinger conveniently leaves out that she’s not in the district, actually lives outside the district. You have two other candidates here that do live in our district. Case closed on that point. To the real issue that seems to be burning for “Just Sayin”…I researched Behrman’s contributions. These checks were written to candidates while they were running in a primary – i.e. they were running against other Rs., not Ds. I would be absolutely surprised if Stark had not, in all the years he was supposedly a big advocate for health care, not contribute to D’s for the benefit of his industry. This seems to be a “non-argument”.

    But there is a very big difference between candidates writing a few checks to leadership, even if it’s to the other party, and taking an active role in campaigning against candidates, which Stark has done. As any party leader, certainly a county party treasurer, you get your marching orders to conquer the enemy. For years that was to go after Democrats for Stark. I remember the nastiness of Halperin against Nan Rich. I’ve found no evidence of this kind of activity from Behrman or even Mersinger. More so, Stark has taken liberties with his words to explain his positions and experience. His own words state that he started to teach in the beginning of his career and someone told me he was heard to say he “didn’t like it”. I don’t think this was even in Florida, so it was years ago. I’ve heard that he was a substitute teacher or student intern or something for 6 months, then I heard a year. It doesn’t matter. He has no credibility as an “educator”. Also, Stark has been a very successful insurance agent and why would he hide that? How does that make him a healthcare specialist or expert? And for someone who says he’s the expert in healthcare, that he’s work in Tallahassee and in Congress and was an “integral part of healthcare reform”, why does Behrman have a number of endorsements, lots of support from many safety-net healthcare organizations while Stark has one from a large group of Republican docs?

    At the end of it all, I like Behrman because she came across as very genuine. She seems to be someone who actually will listen to the people she will represent. What a concept! She seemed to have the real life experiences my wife and I have had, so I think she gets it. To be fair, I’m a retired educator so I have a bias towards that. We absolutely must have experienced real educators in Tallahassee, regardless of party, although I’d prefer a Democrat. She knows her business. She’s not a raving maniac, and she has solid credibility and integrity. She has lived in the district a long time. She is endorsed by quality Democrats like Bob Graham who still is regarded as one of the very best leaders ever in Florida.

  13. Dem says:


    Granteed’s been a registered Democrat since 1984. That’s 28 years by my Florida school’s educated math. Maybe you should stick to facts instead of “maybes”.


    The Supervisor of Elections says he switched to Republican in 1986 and back to Democrats in 1990.

  14. Just Saying says:

    Suzie, you say “ultra-liberal” like it is a bad thing. I’m not sure there is any such thing as “too liberal” in my book. (And I was defending Stark above.) Attacking someone as ultra-liberal is really not a way to win your candidate votes in a Democratic primary.

  15. Suzie Says says:

    Ultra-liberalism is dead. The few of you left can’t figure out why but the reason is you people are crazy. Every bit as crazy as the ultra conservatives only somehow they have more contemporary appeal.

    Getting away from all you extremists and your unworkable views is essential to our future success.

    We need people in office that work to achieve common sense, practical solutions to problems. We do not need any more extremists on either end of the spectrum making matters worse.

  16. Debbie says:

    I attended the Weston Candidate Forum Breakfast last week.

    The best person for the job is the Republican. His name is Doug Harrison.

    I checked out his website and facebook page from his campaign card. I suggest that everyone check this guy out at http://www.DougHarrison2012.com and DougHarrisonforStateRepresentative.

    I am voting for Doug Harrison on November 6, 2012 for State House of Representatives, District 104 which covers Pembroke Pines, Weston, Southwest Ranches and Davie.

    The boundaries are State Road 84 to the North, Collier County line to the West, I-75 to the East except where it goes East on Sheridan to Hiatus Road and Pembroke Road to the South.

  17. @ Suzie says:

    No truer thing has ever been said.

  18. Carol says:

    Both Rick Stark and Robin Behrman hope to be voted in as Democrats when neither is or will vote for any liberal agenda if elected. Don’t forget this is the state of Fraudida. Anyone can change his/her party affiliation easily to advance a personal/political career. If either makes it to Tallahassee, Rickety Scott will have more support.

  19. Lisa says:

    I was volunteering this past week at the early voting poll at the Regional library and I have to tell you that everyone was absolutely wonderful towards one another expect for Doug Harrison. I was shocked to watch his nastiness towards others. PLEASE, PLEASE do NOT vote for “Doug Harrison on November 6 ” Just thought I would let everyone know who he truly is. Thanks