Political Civil War To Divide Black Community






There is a political Civil War brewing in Broward’s black community.

Two races – One for a seat on the Broward County Commission and another for the state Senate — will split the African American and Caribbean American leadership and voters.

The first race involves the re-election of County Commissioner Dale Holness, who has been in the Commission District 9 seat for five years. Holness has a probable challenger — state Sen. Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale.

The second race is for Smith’s Central Broward District 31 Senate seat, which he is leaving because of term limits.  Two pols with experience in the House want it — Former state House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston Jr. of Plantation is taking on state Rep. Gwyndolen Clark-Reed, D- Deerfield Beach.



Gwyndolen Clark-Reed


These two contests between four of Broward’s best known black pols will be fueled with bucket loads of money from special interests seeking to win favors on the County Commission or in the state Senate.

But all four candidates are experienced and can take the heat.

Senate candidate Thurston was a state House member for eight years. Two of those years he was House Democratic Leader.

His opponent Clark-Reed is a veteran political power in Northeast Broward. A former New York City public school teacher and School Board member, Clark-Reed was a Deerfield Beach commissioner (1993-2005) before winning a seat in the House in 2008.

In the Commission race, Holness, a Realtor, was a Lauderhill commissioner before winning a seat on the commission.

Smith is a lawyer who first burst into politics by winning a seat in the House in 1998. He served eight years (1998-2006) before being elected to the Senate in 2008. He was Democratic Leader of both the House and Senate.

The County Commission race will all be about Holness, whose all-elbows style of politics has been controversial. He has publicly backed candidates throughout the county, including against his colleague, County Commissioner Barbara Sharief. That can’t have helped him build bridges in the black community.

Meanwhile, what I can only interpret as an early political “dirty trick” has taken place already in the Holness vs. Smith commission race. Another Chris Smith – Robert “Chris” Smith – filed papers for a place on the ballot.

RedBroward.com reported last month that Robert “Chris” Smith has no public documents using the “Chris” nickname.

This is an obvious underhanded move to steal votes from the better known state Senator Chris Smith. The early use of such a maneuver indicates how intensely nasty this race could become with more money to stoke the attacks.

Expect a lot of political fireworks coming out of Broward’s inner city next year.



12 Responses to “Political Civil War To Divide Black Community”

  1. Talks like a politician says:

    I’d vote for any of the above if they pay their taxes. Holness does not qualify on that count.
    Either does the Vice Mayor of Dania Beach, but hopefully she does not decide to run for office again.
    How interesting that now sub groups within minority groups are forming and being identified in the media. I guess the melting pot idea died a long time ago.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Because of district lines I am a White resident of the majority Black State Senate District under discussion. I know NOTHING about either candidate for State Senate in my State Senate District. I must say, HOWEVER, that while I am disagree with State Senator Chris Smith on this or that issue he has been a good, steady, hardworking State Senator who actually walks around his (my) State Senate District. Dale Holyness is another story I’ll leave to Mr. Nevins and the professionals. But, returning to my State Senate District, I would hope – since the two dailies here in Ft Lauderdale do NOT into politics in depth, people who know about the two candidates for State Senate would educate us about who we will be asked to choose between. Now let me return to my terrace on the penthouse in Rimini, smoking Cuban cigars and totally forgetting what a xxxxhouse the Broward County Commission is and how the FtLauderdale City Commission including Dean Tranalis wants a garage on every blade of grass and a hotel on every grain of sand!.

  3. Behind the Scenes says:

    Perry Thurston and Chris Smith are property of Judy Stern. She is what divides the Black community.

  4. Lamberti is a Criminal says:

    I didn’t know all blacks voted as a block.

  5. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    That is so shady. This Robert Smith trying to have people interpret that he is Chris Smith (the senator)is so underhanded. You know what though what comes around, goes around. Come Comm.Holeness I can remember you orchestrating to have what was it your daughter’ boyfriend (tyrone-Hmm)as the write in candidate(or did Judy Stern put you up to it(Judy). So will see. I still like you Dale. As far as Clark reed-shame on you Perry Thurston..(say he’s bulling you Gwenn)….

  6. Kevin Hill says:


    My memory might not be correct, but didn’t “The Real” Chris Smith have to deal with something similar a few years ago where somebody with a similar name ran against him?

    Or am I thinking of another race?


    I believe you are right.

  7. Ready to Rumble says:

    This “civil war” is only a small dose of what the county can expect when Congressman Hastings steps aside soon. This is the prelude to that big fight which involve all the same players along with blacks in south Broward (Sharief, Messam) and blacks in Palm Beach.

  8. Zachary Taylor says:

    After reading the above statements. I did not see anything about Chris Smith and his protege Rosiland Osgood. There is a large group of her new constituants who want someone else to represent them.

  9. The Guess Who says:

    @Ready To Rumble – and that is why a white candidate is going to win the primary for Hastings seat – rack up Kings Point and all the other white voters. They’ll probably last a term though.

  10. Jeff Johnson says:

    I do not approve of this horrible behavior by Robert “Chris” Smith.

    Vote Jeff Johnson — The Name You Know.

  11. Kevin Cerino says:

    I’m trying to figure out how exactly the fake Chris Smith is going to hurt the campaign of the real Chris Smith.

    The district is overwhelmingly Democratic, so whoever wins the Democratic primary is pretty much guaranteed to win the general election. The fake one is running as an NPA, so his name will not appear on the primary ballot.

    If this is some kind of dirty trick by Holness or his supporters, it is being executed in a most incompetent manner.

  12. Sally Schwann says:

    Kevin is right. This reeks of nothing but a bag of weed and a late night of watching “the distinguished gentleman”