Did Judicial Candidates Waste Money On Shoddy Advertising?



Two judicial candidates may have wasted a whole bunch of money in recent days.

I say “may” because I am not the wizard of politics.  I am not all  knowing.

But neither are political consultants…any of them.

County Court candidates Kathleen “Katie” McHugh and Randy Goodis just dumped a big wad of money into a mailing. Since both are political novices, somebody convinced them this was money well spent.

For their sake, I hope it was.  It sure doesn’t look like it was a well-thought out campaign.

First of all, I can’t  emphasize enough how cheesy this mailer looks – badly reproduced photos and washed out type on cheap newsprint.

Whatever they paid was too much!

Not only that but the mailer is filled with extraneous information, like where early voting takes place and a list of the voter’s right and responsibilities. Makes me wonder if those who produced it added pages just to run the cost up.

Both pieces contain emblems of various organizations and universities that are most certainly copyrighted. Was permission obtained for their use?

Also included are two pages of her biography in Spanish.  One political expert told me that this is the kiss of death in Broward, while another said it was a good move.

A clever consultant would have targeted the Spanish pages to only Spanish speakers or heavily Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

One more point: This mailer was sent a month before voting starts.  I guess the assumption is voters will keep it around until then.

Give me a break!  Only political junkies will keep this stuff around…for a laugh and a lesson on what not to do.

I know the mailing company and the consultant can roll out past races they won with this type of mailer.

I would argue that the candidates won despite these shoddy pieces, which probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of  $50,000 or more according to experts,

These pieces prove that there is a sucker born every minute.

And some of them are called judicial candidates.



The front of the McHugh piece and the back of the Goodis mailer.  Notice the poor reproduction.

20 Responses to “Did Judicial Candidates Waste Money On Shoddy Advertising?”

  1. Whack-a-mole says:

    You’ll always hear lawyers tell you that a person who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. But why do we see so many lawyers doing their own commercials, pretending to be spokespeople, that could be so much better done by professionals in the field.

    They’re saying “You can’t do what I do” but it becomes clear they can’t do the promotional job they think they can!

    Maybe the same ego-based mindset is coming into play with these mailers!

  2. No Nonsense says:

    I got one of these mailers and I agree with you. However I’m more concerned with the letter i got form John Rodstrom about the airport runway. Have never gotten a letter from this guy, but I get a letter from him a month before a primary in which his wife is running for his seat.

    This letter was sent out to Dania residents with county funds. The city where Rep.Ryan (her main opponent) is from. Buddy, is this a campaign violation?


    Probably not illegal. If your report is true, it is an interesting use of county tax money to help his wife’s campaign.

  3. bingo says:

    You got this one right Buddy! These mailers are awful. They have always been awful.

    Nothing of real substance, not bright and flashy, too lengthy- etc…. everything you said. They will not make a lasting impression and have all already landed in the garbage. The campaign is 6 weeks away! What were these candidates thinking? Whose advising them. ouch!

  4. nono nonsense says:

    Buddy check that IP address, wanna bet it was a local airport or from Mexico. Things are so slow for Judy Stern this cycle she is taking a vacation to Mexico in the middle of campaign season.

  5. voter #1 says:

    It went from my mailbox to the trash without even looking at it.

  6. Consultant says:

    Notwithstanding the booklets, which are as you say a waste of money, I think Katie McHugh has a shot. Lieberman was involved in that whole Tamarac, Chaits and Chaits scandal. She was a witness for the State, got immunity and was testifying for the State against Tamarac Mayor Talabisco. The State should have gone after Lieberman and used Talabisco against her.
    P.S. Talabisco’s case was dismissed the State appelaed, my prediction is the appeals court will send it back for Talabisco to stand trial.

  7. wizard of politics says:

    After reading your column I have researched each candidate running for Broward County Court Group 6, your reference to Candidate McHugh as being a “political novice” is disingenuous, instead of writing a critique on the type of paper and ink to use in a campaign mailer you should use your expertise by writing a column about the qualifications each possess. Katie McHugh’s honesty, integrity, judicial temperament, judicial knowledge and impressive legal résumé covering 18 years of trial work.

    The opponent shows 1 (one) case that she has represented as attorney of record, the rest she was a defendant or plaintiff. (see broward clerk of courts) She is an un-indicted co-conspirator in a public corruption case still pending on appeal by the Florida State Attorney’s office 17th district, she received immunity from prosecution by turning informant on the other defendants in this public corruption matter. (google it)

    For Broward County Court Judge Group 6, The Miami Herald recommends KATIE MCHUGH.

  8. Interested Voter says:

    I am an attorney and a voter. Being an attorney affords me an understanding of what qualities and skills are needed to be a good judge. I don’t care what a mailer may look like– I focus on the more qualified candidate. That is most certainly Katy McHugh. The last thing broward county needs is a corrupt career politician with little to no legal experiance like Lieberman. Its a no brainer–Vote for McHugh!

  9. Kevin says:


    I thought the football schedules in the Goodis mailer were somewhat clever (somewhat). But the sob story in the other one about how she basically has a bunch of illnesses…. that’s supposed to be a reason to vote for someone?

    And the Spanish translation in red right in the middle of the mailer will tick off the “I don’t want to press 1 for English/You Kids Stay off My Lawn” crowd.

  10. Ghost of McLovin says:

    I disagree Buddy. I found the Goodis flyer to be interesting and useful. He has my vote (not because of this flyer). You’d be complaining if these judicial candidates paid too much for well-produced, shiny pieces or tv, and you’re complaining that these are ineffective and cheap. Unfortunately, electing our judges – right or wrong, requires campaigning.

  11. Plain Language says:

    It will be interesting to see what Kevin has to say on this point.

  12. Hubert says:

    Norman Leonard is the consultant and Mastermailer is the mail house. They have been doing this same mailer through at least the last two judicial elections. It ends up in the round file in most houses.

  13. just saying says:

    i met Katie McHugh a few months earlier and had a very brief conversation with her. i recently received her flyer in the mail. i read about her experience and was impressed. she gets my vote and she got a contribution to her campaign. the info in her flyer sealed my decision. good luck!

  14. round file says:

    “One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors.” Plato

  15. Old School in Broward says:

    It is clear that you don’t think too much of Norm Leonard as a consultant, but when did that start?
    Doesn’t he have an established track record of winning using the very same mailers that you disparage?
    Leonard isn’t slick and is definately old school, but didn’t he hone his skills with Ham Forman?
    I can thinks of a bunch of judicial candidates who won using him, but I can’t remember any who lost.


    Ham Forman died years ago. The world has changed. I would much prefer hiring a young, savvy go-getter who has a feel for the new media and modern presentation. I would also much prefer hiring somebody who is less expensive.

    I would argue that the candidates won despite Leonard. The last time around was a perfect storm — almost the entire legal and business community were aligned behind the incumbent judges. Leonard can not claim he won any of those races.

  16. Plain Language says:

    Kevin, do you think that this low budget way of mail campaigning is as effective as the costly glossies typically sent out? What are your thoughts on that approach?

  17. Just Sayin' says:

    Agree with Buddy that both pieces were ugly, poorly designed, amateurish mailings. But I’m still voting for McHugh despite the lousy mailer, and still not voting for Goodis despite the mailer. In fact, as I was already voting against lazy Judge Diaz, the Goodis piece was so bad it made me decide to vote for Roshawn Banks.

  18. Michael G. Ahearn says:

    I do not think the issue is as much with the design of the piece as is the timing of its delivery. The piece was hitting mailboxes 2 weeks before the first batch of absentee ballots will be mailed, more than 30 days before Early Voting and 40 days before Election Day.

    Looking at the candidates that have used this type of “informational” piece in the past, it would appear that due to the expense of production/mail the piece is typically mailed only once. If this continues, it is quite a risk to mail the piece this far out. On the other side, its proponents will say the benefit of mailing early is that the piece hits first.

    The question here is whether the electorate will keep this “informational” piece on their coffee table, refrigerator or other safe place until they vote, whether it be in a couple of weeks via absentee or 30-40 days from now during Early Voting/Election Day.

    One thing I wonder about the piece is why it is being mailed at the more expensive standard postage instead or bulk rate. I am not in the mailhouse business but it would seem if this could be mailed at bulk rate postage it would save the candidate money.

  19. Kevin says:

    I think that there is no excuse for ANY sort of general printed mailing these days, whether cheap newsprint 16 pages (!) long sent out weeks too early, or glossy stuff sent out in four waves once a week before an election.

    The voter rolls are public records, are very detailed, and are available by law very cheaply to the candidates. Any consultant with basic training in statistical analysis and databases (sadly, that excludes most of them) can do this.

    So, my theory is that a candidate should spent more $$$ upfront to design multiple pieces targeting multiple demographic/political/age/regional groups, and send them out that way— targeted stuff.

    Now, some candidates get into trouble when they do this, because they send out contradictory information to different groups of people, and therefore look like liars or at best slippery characters. Once, I even saw a candidate in Coral Gables who sent out a nice mailer printed on one side in English and another side in Spanish….. and the statements directly contradicted each other!!!

    I also think that campaigns should spend much more than they do on cable TV advertising. It’s cheap, much cheaper than a general mailer. I know that it is not very effective, but putting 2,000 ads on a cable system over two weeks is about the same cost as sending out one mailer, so do the math.

    Of course I could be wrong about all this.

  20. Cheryl says:

    I had to laugh when I read this piece. When I received the McHugh piece in the mail, my first thought was why is this being sent so early…and the second was..who on earth convinced them this was a good idea? Hope some printer did that as an in kind contribution.