Jewish Names Didn’t Elect Judges


Being Jewish just isn’t all it was made out to beespecially in judicial race.

The attempt by a handful of lawyers to win a seat on the bench simply because they had a Jewish-sounding name didn’t work Tuesday.

I’m proud of the Broward voters. 

And I’m surprised.  I thought some of the incumbents would lose to less qualified challengers with Jewish-sounding names. 

Maybe, just maybe, the voters are maturing.

The key race to look at countywide is County Court Group 1.  Three candidates, one with a Jewish-sounding name.

The candidate with the Jewish-sounding name Jason Allen Rosner came in last! 

John Fry and John Howes came in first and second. They head to the runoff in November.

So where was the blind bloc voting by Jews that all the courthouse wags said would carry judicial elections?

Nowhere to be found in the countywide results.

For instance, Circuit Judge Jack Luzzo beat Olga Levine.

County Judge Mary Rudd Robinson beat Jordan Howard Breslaw.

The stigma against Hispanics was put to rest. 

Circuit Judge Carlos Rodriguez easily beat Frieda Goldstein.   Circuit Judge Carlos Rebollo was leading Bob Nichols when this was posted.

All the fear about Jews toppling minority judges didn’t happen.  Besides the two Hispanic incumbents, the winners included three black judges Robinson, Elijah Williams and Ken Gillespie.

How did the incumbents win?  

There were competing palm cards circulating, so I don’t believe any one set handed out at the polls made a difference.

The newspaper endorsements?  They largely backed incumbents and this no doubt helped.  But they didn’t carry the day.

Advertising?  The incumbents did have much more money to mail brochures and do broadcast ads.  Many challengers counted on their names to win.

Political consultants?  They add something to the mix.

The biggest factor may be that the Jewish condo vote isn’t the force it was in the past. 

Formally major blocs of votes hardly cast ballots, according to initial reports on the Supervisor of Elections website.  One Hollybrook complex precinct in Pembroke Pines had less than 100 votes.

That’s not the whole story. Many Jewish areas did not vote blindly for candidates with Jewish-sounding  names.

A Kings Point precinct did vote  for Jewish candidates, but also for Circuit Judge Rebollo.  Many South Broward condos appear to have gone for the same candidates as the county in general.  

That Jewish females could beat those with non-Jewish names was formally the gold standard of political consultants.  Wrong, even in some condo precincts!

In Sunrise Lakes Phase IV, just over 200 votes were cast and Circuit Judge Rodriguez edged out Goldstein.  Circuit Judge Lisa Porter beat Laura Seidman

The judicial results was probably a little bit of everything. 

I’m an optimist.  I hope that thousands of voters educated themselves and picked the candidates that were better qualified.  The better qualified candidates were the incumbents in most cases.

Tuesday was a good day for justice.

7 Responses to “Jewish Names Didn’t Elect Judges”

  1. G.B. says:


    I’m just here to point out that apparently an overwhelming majority of voters DID read and digest the 16 page booklets that Judges Pratt, Hurley, and Williams mailed out.

    You can’t expect different results when you do the same old things.

    Congrats to ALL the incumbent Judges who fought off these undeserving and in some cases unqualified challengers.

    Now perhaps lawyers will think twice before challenging good incumbent Judges in Broward County.


    Maybe the booklets did work for Hurley, Pratt and Williams. What about all the other incumbents? There is no template that works for every candidate.

    But I withdraw my comments about the booklets. How can I argue in the face of victory, George?

    By the way, I believe Hurley, Pratt and Williams are judges who deserved to be elected. I don’t know Pratt personally, but Hurley and Williams are favorites of mine.

  2. Voter at the Union says:

    The most pathetic pandering came from Hurley’s opponent. On election day, her volunteers wore T-shirts that had MINSK (her middle name)twice as large as her last name Donoho. Her materials were about the same.
    God, I hope that this was the final chapter in who can appear the most Jewish in judicial elections.

  3. Not really says:

    If you look at the individual precincts, the Jewish voters voted much more for the Jewish sounding candidates. I think the real story is that the Jewish voters are not carrying the county anymore.

    Look at Kings Point precincts. They voted overwhelming for the Jewish sounding judicial candidates. Their results are out of sync with the average of the votes in the county as a whole. For example, Freda Goldstein had about 59% to Carlos Rodriguez’s 41% in J-22; Schneider had about 68% to Elijah William’s 32% in that same precinct.

    Overall, Williams beat Schneider 55% to 45%, a much different result. Carlos Rodriguez beat Goldstein 58% to 42%, again, a much different result than in that KP precinct.

    Same thing in J-13, the other KP precinct. The returns for Rodriguez and Goldstein were totally flipped from the county results. In J-13, Goldstein had 58% and Rodriguez had 42% whereas county results were just the opposite.

    Schneider had 60% to Elijah Williams’ 40% in J-13 (KP) whereas the actual results were 55% to 45% in Williams’ favor.

    The other KP precinct, J-26 had Goldstein over Rodriguez 56.66% to 43.34%, again almost exactly opposite the district’s results, and they voted for Schneider over Williams by a 66% to 34% margin, whereas the actual vote was much different (55% to 45%).

    The same holds true for Sunrise Lakes, for all of the candidates with Jewish sounding names.

    Also, look at the District 4 and District 6 School Board races, broken down by precinct. In the heavily Jewish condos of Kings Point and Sunrise Lakes, Jaemi Levine and Laurie Levinson soundly trounced their opponents. The percentages were way out of line with the averages in those districts.

    I think the real story isn’t that the Jewish voters weren’t voting for candidates with Jewish sounding names, because they were, it is more that the condos have lost their power, and are being out-voted by single family voters. We saw this trend start a few years ago and it is now obvious. Jewish condo voters still vote for Jewish sounding candidates, but their votes are no longer controlling the county.

  4. Been Around The Courthouse says:

    maybe the voteres educated themselves after the alarming loss during the last election of the three hispanic judges. this time the voters spoke loud and clear saying, “we’re not going to let this happen again!” i’m glad that in this election the judicial candidates qualifications were more important than the “right” sounding name. if the challengers had great qualifications, that’s fine, but most of them, in my humble opinion, were running for a pay raise and are mediocre, at best, attorneys and opportunists trying to cash in on their name. btw, i am a jewish female and i would never vote based on name or gender alone. thanks to all who voted!!!

  5. Kevin says:

    There are three possible interpretations here without actually looking at the precinct-level data, and all of them could be partially correct:

    1. Jewish voters were “shamed” by people like Howard Finklestein into not voting on the basis of ethnicity.

    2. Condo turnout was down.

    3. Non-condo turnout was up, or a combination of 2 and 3.



    I would say all three of your reasons were a factor, plus the advertising which was largely confined to the incumbents.

    The incumbents also worked very hard.

    I only looked at a few precincts myself. I’m guessing the Republican vote was pumped up because of the Scott/McCollum race and the two local open seats in northeast Broward. The incumbent judges — most appointed by Republican governors –still had to make it known to Republican voters that they needed help.

  6. watcher says:

    too bad Broward’s worst judge..FELD, who started this whole thing ran in 2008

  7. a lil' bit cynical... says:

    … agree that voting for best candidate is the way to go, but maybe the trend of voting based on ethnicity is not as dead as
    you think …; could it be that the new “majority minority” is now Hispanic, and that those are the types of names that carried the race?
    based on the same old same old theory…