Lauderhill’s Mayor Kaplan: Crist Has A Shot

Lauderhill Mayor Richard J. Kaplan
Guest Columnist

(In this column, Kaplan takes an informal poll and finds many willing to consider voting for a newly-independent Charlie Crist for U. S. Senate.)

This is not an editorial.  It’s an observation of the upcoming Senate race between Marco Rubio (R), Kendrick Meek (D) and Charlie Crist (I).

I express no preference or endorsement at this time, but as someone who likes to study history and compare it to present time, I find this three-way race for the US Senate to be fascinating.

Honestly, I can’t tell you who will win.  I can tell you we are in for the ride of our lives. 

Let no one assume or claim anything, except that the political leadership should be worried.  They do have a problem on their hands.

My Informal Poll


After Crist announced he was running as an Independent, I wanted to find out how receptive the public was to him.  Over the last week I have asked many people, including my Rotary Club.

The sample covered was only about 70 people, but those I asked represented a very diverse group of people and political parties.  I have been fortunate that irrespective of my views, I have often had good relations with a wide political spectrum.  We respect each other.

Some were strong Republicans supporters. Others were strong Democrats.  Quite a few claimed they belong to a party, but maintain their independency on how they voted.   

What I found was that almost 100% were intrigued by Crist’s announcement and wanted to hear more. 

Over 90% said they were open to Governor Crist and could see themselves voting for him (which was shocking to hear, though some may hold their nose to do it). 

Much depended upon the bills that the Legislature passed and if Crist vetoes them or allows them to become law. 

Crist Must Show He Is Truly Independent

The sample believed that if Crist vetoes the right bills,  shows he is not a die-hard conservative Republican (unlike his prior speeches debating Rubio), and indicates he is truly an independent, they will seriously consider voting for him.

Not bad, given the anger we have all heard from the Republican Leadership, and the concern from Democrats.

My feedback is also that if the hard core Conservative Republicans try to punish Crist, the more likely that soft core Moderate Republicans will revolt and support Crist. 

Anyone But Rubio?

On the other side, Democrats are following the “Anyone But Rubio philosophy. If Crist can distinguish himself from Rubio and prove that Meek cannot win, Democrats will vote for Crist with the hope that it would be better than nothing. 

Independent could support Crist if he actually proves to them that he is truly independent of political parties.

See why I find this fascinating?

What I am also seeing is that many people are disenchanted with politics as usual in Florida and appear desperate to see something different.  Crist may be this difference, or not. 

What he has is an opportunity that normally doesn’t come along. 

If elected, he has various potential roads to follow:  Kiss and make up with the Republicans, loosely associate himself with the Democrats, stay independent and try to be a player, or start a new third moderate political party.

Based upon my observations, he has a chance.  But recognizing the power of politics, only a limited chance.

9 Responses to “Lauderhill’s Mayor Kaplan: Crist Has A Shot”

  1. Sam Fields says:

    After 18 years in the Senate Utah Republicans bounced Bennett from the ballot. Not rightwing enough.

    I bet he could do the same thing Crist is doing. Run as an Indie and kill off the Teabaggers in Utah

  2. Democratic Man says:

    Kaplin is a Democratic campaigning for Crist? He should be run out of office.

  3. To Sam says:

    Utah law prohibits Bennett from doing so. Unfortunate but Mr. Teabag is going to Washington.

  4. Richard J. Kaplan says:

    Democratic Man, you provided exactly the type of reaction I would have expected, and what I was describing as the party reaction, worried. It is why the parties are so polarized. It is why bipartianship, which is needed to get the work done is failing, and so is just about everything else.

    Just keep at it to drive a deeper wedge.

    If I can’t express what I see, not even what I necessarily believe in, then the Bill of Rights is worthless.

    I haven’t campaigned for anyone, I just reported what I have observed from Democrats, Republicans and Republicans. You know, the voters that will decide this race.

    Besides, like all muncipal officer holders I run non-partisan. And as such, I have never received a dime from any political party to run.

  5. GOPapa says:

    There are more conservatives in Florida than moderates and liberals, based on the voting in past elections. By November, voters will realize that Crist is simply a politician who will do anything and change any position to be elected. Meek is a non-entity and won’t break 20 percent. Marco Rubio is true to his beliefs.

  6. Resident says:

    GOPapa, I don’t believe you are right. They are all within a few points of each other. Plus adding two of the three groups will beat the third. So the moderates may control who wins.

    But you might be right on Crist and Meek. Still Rubio can lose. Stay tune.

  7. Hallandale Beach Blog says:

    “To Sam”: You are 100% right about the state law in Utah prohibiting Bob Bennett from appearing on the November ballot as an Independent. His only option is as a write-in candidate, but that would be an extremely difficult task for him because a large part of Bennett’s political problem with voters, esp. younger voters, is his own prickly personality. He’s well-known for being insufferable and possessed of a high self-regard and sense of entitlement, qualities that really grate on people over time, especially conservative people in a state who tend to be both more religious and patriotic than the national average. Bear in mind that years ago, even before his unpopular recent votes and maneuvers, he’d promised Utah’s citizens that he’d only serve two terms in the U.S. Senate, yet broke that promise in a heartbeat when it served his own purposes. While South Floridians may expect their pols to lie to them, Utah’s voters have a slightly higher expectation, especially for someone they’ve already supported for so long.
    They feel badly ‘burned’ by Bennett, and believe he’s taken their support for granted, so part of the equation there now is to remind him that he always needed them more than they needed him. Now, of course, he finally “get’s it.” Yet typically, he won’t publicly admit that reality, and instead, allows national reporters to paint a narrative of the race with him as a marytr in a very flattering way, even though the national press never liked him before -and for good reason. Curious that change in coverage!

    Plus, you can’t ignore the fact that Bennett is as OLD as the Oregon Trail! There’s an entire generation of very successful people in Utah who have grown-up their whole lives with three people representing Utah in the Senate: Jake Garn, Orin Hatch and Bennett. They have grown frustrated with the old man with a sense of entitlement, and want a new package, even if they like their ideas old and classic. My moderate friends from Utah who still work on Capitol Hill or in the various federal agencies believe he simply stayed too long, and wound-up getting embittered by the fact that people would no longer kiss his ring anymore after he antagonized them one time too many.

    This isn’t the place for it, per se, but at some point, judging by the tenor of the national coverage of the Utah and Florida Senate races, and the frequency with which some people conflate the meaning of the two races into something they clearly are NOT -comparable- some well-known national columnist is going to ask a very logical question that never seems to get asked down here, and certainly NOT in the Miami Herald or Sun-Sentinel: Why it is that when Ned Lamont ran against Joe Lieberman in Connecticut and then the latter ran as an independent -after losing the Dem nomination- liberals and the national media -esp. the NYT- howled that Joe Lieberman was a bad loser and couldn’t accept the fact that he had lost the zip in his fastball.
    (But they were proven wrong by the voters.) But when Crist made his move to Independent, rather than say that he’d utterly failed to deliver the goods or show some foresight, the media and liberals self-muted, and instead have tried to renvent him as some sort of noble populist hero. I voted for Crist and he’s been a HUGE disappointment to me. Why would I think he’d change and be something completely different in Washington?

    And seriously, when are we going to start seeing some articles in the newspapers or discussion on talk radio about African-American leaders complaining about White Liberals abandoning Kendrick Meek? The exact sort of political stories that you’d normally see in other states under similar circumstances? But not here. Yet.

  8. Resident says:

    I’m not so sure that White Liberals have abandoned Meek. I just think there aren’t that many of them. Plus even Meek admitted he hasn’t done much to get his name recognized, and therefore hasn’t energized much of his potential voting strength. With limited funds, he may not be able to.

  9. James says:

    Charlie will win, and then caucus with dems as pay back to all the repubs who threw him under the bus. The only question is by what margin. If Obama convinces meek to drop-out, it will be even more convincing.