Update: Despite Opposition and Bad Publicity, Stacy Ritter Running Again


State Attorney Mike Satz’s prosecutors have been investigating County Commissioner Stacy Ritter for corruption.

Now one of his prosecutors, state Rep. Ari Porth, is gearing up to run against her for re-election.

Does anybody else have a problem with a prosecutor running against a politician who is under investigation by his boss?  How does Porth run against Ritter without making it look like a vendetta by Satz and his crew?

By quitting his job.

“If I run for county commission, I will leave the office, Porth of Coral Springs told Browardbeat.com. “I don’t want any appearance of impropriety.

Is Satz’s Crew Interfering In Election?

I’m a big boy and I’ve been around politics a long time.  But when prosecutor David Schulson told The New Times today that “Klenet and Ritter are still open investigations”  it really doesn’t matter if Porth leaves the State Attorney’s Office.

These kind of comments — rather than a straight “no comment” — smell like Satz’s office is trying to throw campaign help to fellow prosecutor Porth.

The oldest prosecution trick in the book is to taint a possible jury pool with endless pre-trial publicity leaked from State Attorney sources.  I benefited from leaks many times as a reporter.

This is different.  Schulson’s comment is just the latest in a long line that look like they were designed to help prosecutor Porth in his run against Ritter.

It apparently isn’t scaring Ritter.

If I was her I would retire, but she announced today she is running for re-election.  She sent me this e-mail shortly after I posted an earlier version of this story:

“You think I’m a lame duck?  I’m running again….I am planning to run for re-election. I haven’t said anything because we just finished the 2010 races. Everyone is in such a rush!  I haven’t opened up my campaign account and won’t make a formal announcement until I do.”

A race for re-election will be brutal.  Years’ worth of negative publicity about her and her lobbyist husband Russ Klenet would be featured in 30-second spots and blasted across the northwest Broward district.

Stacy Ritter

Lost in stories about investigations is a record of significant achievement.  Ritter got the long-stalled airport expansion and a new courthouse off the ground as mayor.

It doesn’t matter that she has not been charged criminally with anything.   Political advertising gold can be spun from straw.

Getting a lot of publicity is the accusation that she took a broken-down golf cart from a developer when she was out of office. She was a private citizen at the time.

(She does have civil election complaints against her, which is probably enough to make a year’s worth of ads.)

The reason for all this chatter about Ritter’s future is two-fold.

First, like any good politician, Ritter of Parkland announcement she is running again is keeping her options open.

Second, she is keeping herself relevant.

It is widely assumed she will not run again. Any new campaign would be an uphill battle as she tried to overcome all the bad stories written about her.

Not an uphill battle.  A climb up Mount Everest.

Porth Will Be A Tough Candidate

The relentless attacks have already resulted in opposition from a fellow Democrat Porth.  He told me he is almost “certain to run and he will open his campaign account after the Legislative session, sometime in May.

Porth is an attractive candidate.  He will be termed out of the House in 2012 after eight years. He was chairman of the Broward Legislative Delegation in 2009.   He has a solid record of voting Democrat, which won’t hurt in this Democratic district.

Porth on floor of the House in 2007 with fellow Democrats Kelly Skimore of Boca Raton, Franklin Sands of Weston and Jack Seiler, then of Wilton Manors.

One chink in his Democratic armor:  He abandoned the party to back former Gov. Charlie Crist’s independent run for U. S. Senate last year.

Porth, 40, has been a prosecutor six years.  He is married with a one-year-old son.

Parkland Mayor Michael Udine is another Democrat whose name is being mentioned to run for the seat.

Ritter has a lot of obstacles her way. She has more going for her than you would believe by reading her critics.

Ritter has represented Northwest Broward for 15 years and has a solid base in Kings Point and other pockets of Democratic strength. She is 100 percent Democrat and even once had a radio show triumphing Democratic positions.

And she has launched a major effort to rehab her image, including Internet videos and frequent posts on various websites.

She says she is running for re-election.  To admit that she is quitting politics would make her a lame duck.  That would make it hard for her to accomplish anything at the commission.

It is much better politically to keep others believing she might run for something.

My Prediction

How will this play out?

Gazing into my crystal ball, I think I hear my answer from Ritter: Quack Quack.

Like a lame duck.

She says my crystal ball is cloudy, my prediction is off base.

We’ll have to wait to see the next chapter in the Broward political drama that is Stacy Ritter.

23 Responses to “Update: Despite Opposition and Bad Publicity, Stacy Ritter Running Again”

  1. Futurue Commissioner Dan Daley says:

    Do not forget that Ari is proudly supporting me, a Republican, for Coral Springs City Commission. He even doesn’t care that I’m an intern for the RPOF which will surely field someone to run against him if he wins the primary! What a guy!

    Also, don’t forget that Ari was instrumental in getting my fellow GOP brother Larry Vignola elected to the Coral Springs City Commission in 2010! I just hope all of the local Democrat activists (who must be very upset about Stacy to begin with) are going to support him in the primary even though he can’t stop supporting Republicans!

    And you can forget this Udine guy. He’s just well-liked, independently wealthy, good looking, corruption-free… he has no chance.

  2. Callip says:

    Ari is also backing his aide for the Coral Springs City Commission, who is a Republican, not to mention a young kid. It’s nice to see someone who is turning his back on labels.

  3. Commissioner Lifeguard says:

    How dare any of you attack Dan Daley.

    Besides graduating from high school 3 years ago, he’s had a lot of experience as an intern for the Republican Party of Florida and as Ari Porth’s secretary. I think he was a lifeguard one summer at the Aquatic Center too! What a resume!

    Certainly a 20 year old can run for City Commission. He just can’t serve booze at his fundraisers.

    And how dare anyone complain about it? It’s not like there’s anyone who lives in Coral Springs with more life experience, who might have kids in Coral Springs Public Schools, and who might have a bit more knowledge than him.

    I mean, it’s City Commission — just a dress rehearsal for a real job, right Dan? And with the salary, you might be able to go out and rent a place on your own instead of living at home.

  4. PorthIsWorth says:

    Ari is a great guy and anyone runing against him will face a tough battle. Republicans already pull his picture taken with Charly Crist , but is not going to work,

  5. Future Area Leader Nick Steffens says:

    Let’s not forget that Mickey Udine also supported Charlie Crist in his bid for US Senate. Not only did he help Charlie raise money, but he attended all of Charlie’s Broward events.But I guess it only matters when you tell half the story.

    I promise I’m not bitter. I didn’t really want to be area leader anyways…

  6. anonymous says:

    So wait, Porth is working for the office that pretty much has control of all the bad publicity that Ritter’s been getting? How messed up is that?

    So he resigns his job. Big deal. The damage has been done to Ritter and that could help Porth win. DIRTY politics at its WORST.

    I think Ritter should run again. It would make an interesting campaign – showing that not only did Porth work for the guy who has been “investigating” the commissioner for a few years now, but Porth is supporting some Republicans? The solid Dems in Parkland and Coral Springs should have heart failure over that!!!!!!!!

  7. SPRINGSDEM says:

    i’ve known Ari for a long time, and he not only is a good person, he is a great public servant. he always does what is right (which we all know is left)! but if you look at the senate race, Crist was the only left of center shot we had at the senate seat. it’s unfortunate, but meek was not electable statewide, and i’ll take anyone but Rubio!
    as for him helping Vignola, i’d love to know what he did? he has asked me to help raise money for alot of candidates in the past, but not Vignola, and Ari and i speak regularly!
    i think Vignola is doing a fine job, and he’s pretty young. lets see Daley’s platform before we rush to judgements. if he works for Ari, how far right can he really be? it’s mighty early to start labeling people without hearing what they have to say about coral springs. this is why we got beat so badly in ’10, not looking at the true value of each individual candidate.
    we should be worrying about getting West and Lamberti out of office….

  8. Broward Politico says:

    As far as I’m concerned Commissioner Ritter should run for re-election. She still has a lot of support. Porth has been a Mike Satz prosecutor and a state rep for 8 years, clearly a conflict of interest but Satz and Porth feel as though they run this place and can do whatever they want.
    PS Satz and Porth are two DINOs

  9. Sour Grapes says:

    Howdy Eye Doctor,

    Are you mad at that YOU lost in 2010? I guess your prescription was not liked in Coral Springs!

    I like how you and your cronies attack a potential opponent. So when you say that you care about the City of Coral Springs, I guess doesn’t include any registered voter from 18-40 since that age group is considered young.

    I can’t wait till we all go blind from your tacky signs. I love the rhetoric that we need to get young people involved in the political process but shot them down when they want to run.

    Ari is liked by all and at least his father is a real doctor! Best of luck to the “doctor.”

  10. beergoggles says:

    I love all of the talk with no real facts….
    1. Ari Porth is a child truency division attorney, he doesn’t even see a court room or anyone involved with investigating Golf-Cart Stacey.
    2. Golf-Cart Stacey will do anything for money… including cheating her her former husband with a wealthy lobbyist.
    3. Golf-Cart Stacey is such a sleaze, that even after her husband walks in on her and Klennet the krook, she keeps her husband’s last name for political reasons.
    4. If Udine gets in the race, it’s only b/c Golf-Cart Stacey (they are good friends) hand choses him so she can keep the “perks” going
    5. Some people get into politics to hear their own voice and see their pictures in the paper (i.e. Golf-Cart Stacey). Some, and I mean very few, actually care about the people they represent (i.e. Ari Porth)
    it’s time for the people of Brioward to take off the beer goggles and start analyzing why our county is going down the drain!

  11. dukester says:

    Geez, sure hope Ritter runs for something because I need entertainment. Airport expansion and doing a backdoor on courthouse rejected by the voters. Run on the record and you will be running out of town

  12. the Real Truth says:

    You can stick a fork in Ritter. She’s done.

  13. Jimbob says:

    I’d vote for Ari over Stacey or Uldine. I really dont have a problem with Ari supporting Dan Daley in a race.. hell, who the heck wants that nutjob Mark Gandal in power in springs, I’ll take a 21 year old over him any day. Ari has always shown to be true to his word and supports the best candidates.. not playing parties.

  14. Little Birdie says:

    A litle birdie told me that one (if not more) of the judicial candidates that lives in Coral Springs may be jumping into the Commission race too.

    Plenty of fun times ahead.

  15. Tony Mann Reporting says:

    Tony Mann is just reporting that Stacy Ritter has stated she is intending to run for reelection to her County Commission seat.

    Sorry Ari – you couldn’t whack her when you were President of Coral Springs Dems, and I don’t see you whacking her now.

    Browardbeat.com is also reporting it. And my pal Tony spells his last name M-A-N, as in Anthony Man.

  16. Broward Politico says:

    Commissioner Ritter –
    You have my support and the support of all my friends and family.
    Mike Satz is a DINO and Ari Porth is his sycophant. Satz and Porth have thiers coming.
    Just remember Satz and Porth, Satz and Porth, Satz and Porth.
    Satz is despised in many Democratic circles and rightfully so.

  17. Bob Adams says:

    I have known Ari Porth for nearly twenty years. He is a hard-working, dedicated public servant who is as honest as they come. That district has not had top-notch representation since John Hart retired. That will change in 2012.

  18. Neighbor of Schulson says:

    Buddy, I have known schulson and says for years. To even hint that these guys are doing favors for Porth is not fair. The beergoges guy got it right, Porth is a truancy attorney. How much time do you think they spend together, especially since everyone knows Schulson can’t stand politicians, even his own boss. Schulson is not a bad guy, but he definitely would not be doing favors for a politician, especially Porth , because there is bad blood between the two. I think Ritter is a snake, but she’ll hang herself. She’ll end up in jail before the primary anyway! Buddy, who’s running for Porth’s house seat if he’s termed out?

    FROM BUDDY: Scott Brook is running.

    I never said Schulson was doing a favor for Porth.
    I said it looked like he was and in politics, perception is everything.

  19. Local Republican says:

    Ari is a smart and kind man who works well with both sides (see Sheriff Lamberti and Coral Springs Commissioners for REPs and many good examples for DEMs.)

    He would be a welcomed addition to the Broward County Commission and might actually add some sanity.

    GO ARI!

  20. Kevin says:

    Jeez! I never knew Coral Springs politics was so dirty! But then I read these posts……

  21. SPRINGSDEM says:

    Coral Springs is not dirty, the problem is our fearless leader… Mr Nick is so upset that he lost his area leader bid, he has to make our community look bad. The guy is a life long loser who likes to play games. That’s why I stopped going to those meetings. Again, we have district 22, sheriff, county commission, house 96 all up this year. All are big races directly impacting our area, and Nick is worried about attacking a city candidate.

  22. No Show Ari says:

    Wait til it comes out that Ari Porth’s job at the State Attorney’s Office is a no-show job.

  23. Ritter Following Rules? says:

    Is that Stacy Ritter I see eating dinner with lobbyist Mike Moskowitz? I hope you disclose it, Stacy.