Election Tidbits — 2022 Edition

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

The election in Broward County worked well…again. 

The votes were counted and the results were in early. 

The county has come a long way from two decades ago when the governor stepped in and removed former Supervisor Miriam Oliphant for incompetence. 

Congratulations to Supervisor of Elections Joe Scott and the canvassing board!

The canvassing board is a group including a judge, the Elections Supervisor and a County Commissioner. It oversees vote counting.  

Broward Mayor Michael Udine has been on the canvassing board since 2019. 

“Even the hard gadflys said it was (the) best they saw,” Udine texted.  “Took all the conspiracy theories off the table.  Open. Public and transparent.”

Agreed.

 

WOMEN LOSE SCHOOL BOARD

 

Political professionals will tell you that women have an advantage in School Board races. Surveys have found that voters associate females with child care, according to these experts.

Not so much in Broward County any more. 

Three women running for School Board were defeated:

 

  • Jeff Holness beat veteran pol Ruth Carter Lynch. Holness gets the “If You Don’t Succeed Try, Try Again” Award. The Broward County educator ran at least three times in Plantation and once in Sunrise before winning.
  • Rodney Velez beat Marie Murray Martin, daughter of the outgoing, retiring School Board member Ann Murray.
  • Allen Zeman edged out incumbent Donna Korn, who the governor removed from office earlier this year.

 

The one female who won a School Board seat is Beverly Fam. She should keep the meetings interesting. 

 

Beverly Fam

 

As an outspoken conservative, Fam will have different ideas than those that dominate the Broward board. The rest of the members have a largely liberal approach to education.

But don’t worry, Dems. She will be out voted on any substantial changes.

  

FORT LAUDERDALE CHANGES DIRECTION????

 

City Commission winner John Herbst was the city auditor for 16 years and he should know how to keep the finances in line.

Warren Sturman, a long-time city activist, should be able to keep lobbyists at arms length. That’s because he has a real job not dependent on politics: physician. 

Pam Beasley-Pittman is a veteran community champion who wants to preserve Fort Lauderdale’s life style. 

Despite all the campaign blather, don’t expect much change. 

I have seen Fort Lauderdale City Commissioners come and go.

But who stays are the development interests who loiter in the corridors of City Hall. 

Who stays are the lobbyists, whose campaign contributions keep commissioners in office. 

Who stays are the staff with moldy pro-growth doctrine. The idea that development fuels better city finances have been proven wrong time and again. 

So the variances to developers keep pouring out of City Hall. 

The buildings just keep getting higher and higher while the roads remain the same.

“Nothing will change. (We) own City Hall,” candidly predicted a veteran developers’ lobbyist. 

But change can come. The Plantation Acres community beat back an apartment project which would have been plunked down amid single-family houses. 

With presidents up in arms about traffic, Plantation is moving towards building a new flyover to connect with I-595.

Fort Lauderdale residents? They just sit in traffic and wonder why. 

 

PLANTATION 

 

And mentioning Plantation, that city just showed how you can run a campaign without resorting to nasty dirt being thrown. 

In Fort Lauderdale, Sturman was the target of vicious personal attacks that dragged his children and ex-wife into the frey. It didn’t work and Sturman won handily.

In Plantation it was different. 

Mayor Lynn Stoner and challenger Nick Sortal had baggage —enough to weigh down an airport baggage handler.

Stoner had alleged ethical laps. Sortal repeatedly used sexually-tainted locker room humor, which offended women.

Yet both candidates stuck to the issues and largely ignored the dirt. 

(I write “largely” because Sortal did catalog Stoner’s alleged ethical missteps on his campaign blog, but that didn’t use it to reach a widespread audience like in campaign ads.)

The campaign ads I saw avoided the dirt. I heard nothing from sources about any vicious ads. 

Nick Sortal won handily because he just worked harder. He campaigned tirelessly.  

 

Nick Sortal

 

 

 

Stoner, not so much. She was hardly seen or heard from.

Sortal stuck to his themes of transparency in City Hall and putting the brakes on apartment construction. 

He didn’t need the dirt. He had the issues.

 

THE RED STATE

 

I viewed a former colleagues on television last night. She was prognosticating that Ds could be competitive in Florida in two years.

No, No, No and No.

Florida is a Red State.  

The Ds don’t count. 

It has been Red for years, despite the blathering of the talking heads on TV and the opinion writers in the media.  

When was the last time Florida elected a Democratic governor? 

Lawton Chiles in 1994. That’s 28 years ago!

 

Lawton Chiles

 

Chiles was elected with the help of conservative white Democrats, who dribbled away to the Republican Party.  

He directly appealed to them.

Most famously during that last campaign, he rolled out an appeal directly to the old cracker Floridian conservatives who lived in Central and North Florida. Voters that the Ds ignore today.

Chiles was being attacked during a debate with the GOP candidate Jeb Bush as a liberal. 

Chiles fired back: 

“But let me tell ya, one other thing about the ol’ liberal — the ol’ he-coon walks just before the light of day,” Chiles said. 

Chiles was speaking cracker.

Cracker legend has it that while younger male raccoons hunt in the middle of the night, the older he-coon has learned that the best time to hunt is just before dawn. 

The he-coon quip was a famous line in Florida politics. It helped Chiles convince those Central and North Florida white crackers that he was one of them. He beat Bush. 

Chiles was the last Democratic candidate for governor who reached out directly to Central and North Florida white conservatives.

He had an easier time in 1994. Today it would be an uphill struggle for any D.

A white conservative like Chiles couldn’t get through a Democratic primary.

Plus, there were roughly 500,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in 1994’s Florida. Today there is roughly 300,000 more registered Rs.

And the independents lean Republican, according to past polling results.

It has become so bad that whole big sections of the state don’t have viable Democratic party organizations.  

There will be no blue resurgence in Florida any time soon. 

 

 



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