Fort Lauderdale Will Have The Most Visible Campaigns In 2008

By Buddy Nevins

There is a one reason why Fort Lauderdale’s city election is the biggest and most exciting and probably most combative campaign coming up money.

Fort Lauderdale is filled with endless financial possibilities for the business community.


There is a lot of money to be made from votes of the Fort Lauderdale city commission. 

Hundreds of millions of dollars in spending are already on the drawing boards and awaiting approval in Fort Lauderdale — acres of housing, office and commercial construction.


Two primarily county projects — a new courthouse, an expensive transit system  — would require the cooperation of the Fort Lauderdale City Commission.

So with the entire commission up for election on February 10, the business types are watching closely.


There are 13 cities and towns with elections in February and March. But as Broward’s biggest and most renowned community, Fort Lauderdale will get the bulk of attention from the media. 


One seat up for grabs is mayor.


Because Broward County’s government is defused among nine commissioners with no leader, Fort Lauderdale mayor is by default one of Broward’s most visible political figures. 

Everybody from Parkland to West Park knows the name of the outgoing mayor of Fort Lauderdale — Jim Naugle.  


There are four candidates former Democratic state Rep. Jack Seiler, a lawyer; former city commissioner Dean Trantalis, a lawyer;  store owner Earl Rynerson, a gay activist and Steve Rossi, a former FBI agent and a lawyer.


Two of the candidates are gay activists Trantalis and Rynerson.  But because there are two, being gay isn’t the advantage it might have been.


They will split the gay vote and share it with Seiler, who has a good record with the gay community.


The commission races are also interesting.


There are two open seats to replace Carlton Moore and Cindi Hutchinson.  The two remaining incumbents Christine Teel and Charlotte Rodstrom have spirited opposition.

That includes a former police chief (Bruce Roberts vs. Teel) and a well-known city activist (Steve Glassman vs. Rodstrom). 


We’ll get to those races in the future.


One former pols interesting take on all this is Tim Smith’s blog found here.


(Although Tim and I have had differences I am one of the villains in his book on Fort Lauderdale politics I still believe his views are worth taking into account.)


Whatever the outcome of all this, the business community will be playing Santa Claus.  The jolly old man’s gift bag will be filled with cash.


Despite very tight campaign limits in Fort Lauderdale — $250– the candidates in these five races could spend thousands campaigning.


Over $100,000 has been raised in the mayor’s race as of the third quarter and a new report is due in early January.  


If political committees surface outside the campaign limit law, the spending could be a million dollars in these races.



13 Responses to “Fort Lauderdale Will Have The Most Visible Campaigns In 2008”

  1. wow says:

    who knew that race was so nasty between Trentallis and Rynoson. You are right Buddy that race is going to get pretty heated

  2. the ghost of bob cox says:

    It is about time that we have a new mayor who isn’t a clown. Oh, yeah. I was a clown. At least a new moderate mayor.

  3. I love Jack Seiler says:

    Jack Seiler is the most qualified candidate for mayor. He has vast experience in city (Wilton Manors) and state government. Seiler would be a winner for Fort Lauderdale after the fool Jim Naugle. A progressive voice for a progressive city — Seiler

  4. Progressive? says:

    How Progressive can Seiler be with Judy Stern running his campaign?

  5. broward voter says:

    I love Jack Seiler… LOL, calm down Ahearn, we know you love Jack.

  6. Earl Fan says:

    Interesting that Seiler puts his campaign ad on this site then an article about the race comes out. While Buddy does not favor anyone in this piece its nice to have the Seiler ad next to it while you read it.

    It is time frome the same old political hacks like Trentalis and Seiler,


    FROM BUDDY: I learned from my years at the Sun-Sentinel, which sells candidates ads on everything from the bag the paper is delivered in to stickers on the front page. They’ll take an ad from almost anybody. Then they’ll write what they want.

  7. Truthiness says:

    My understanding is that Judy Stern is NOT running Seiler’s campaign. They had a parting a few months ago when Jack told Judy she could run his campaign but, if she did, he would prohibit her (but voluntary agreement) from lobbying the city on behalf of anyone so long as he is Mayor. Judy balked and walked.

  8. I've got a bridge in Brooklyn for sale? says:

    If only it was true, Truthie. Seiler read the writing on the wall that said Stern, after losing to Lamberti among other things, changed from an asset to a liability. He then did a smart move: publically repudiate her while she would privately do the work. All of a sudden Stern isn’t working for Charlotte Rodstrom either? Give me a break. He’s cunningly removed her from being used as an attack piece by Dean. Everybody in the business community has already seen through it.

  9. I.P. Freely says:

    I’ll buy that bridge… If what you say is true, then Stern is working for free. Otherwise she would have to show up on their campaign finance reports.

  10. That'll be $700 Billion Dollars! says:

    Yeah, sure, The only currency for power brokers like Stern is getting paid cash. Sure. Smart campaigners like Judy NEVER are paid what their worth , intangibly to a campaign. She’ll charge him later through third parties anyway or when he “coincidentaly” votes her way for major projects involving “former” clients.

    Judy Stern didn’t leave a campaign plan for Seiler to follow???

    She wouldn’t be interested in who wins Mayor??

    Seiler or Rynerson or any politician would all of a sudden be squeamish about having a lobbyist on board???

    Billions in projects over the next 9 years, and he doesn’t want $$$$ to win the campaign???

    He now has to got to each lobbyist independentaly to get checks for the runoff instead of having ONE bagwoman??

    What are you smoking and why do you want me to do drugs with you.

  11. Mudslinges says:

    Looks like things are getting really dirty in this race

    seiler is a nobody in this race, its between rynerson and trentalis. in a small turnout race the gay vote controls

  12. I.P. Freely says:

    The gay community had 0 wins last cycle and will continue to have about the same clout if they keep arguing over whether rynerson or trentalis has the nicer drapes.

  13. Fred says:

    I find it interesting that Seiler’s ad on your web site has an illegal disclaimer.

    You’d think he’d know better!