Update: Israel & Korn’s Amazing Wins



She hardly campaigned.  She had half the money.  She had little establishment support.  The entire Democratic Party machine was arrayed against her.

School Board member Donna Korn was even appointed by the hated Gov. Rick Scott.

Still, Korn apparently managed to pull off an amazing upset against the bluest of blue Democrats, former House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands.

It is stunning she even got close.

But 30,000 absentee ballots remain uncounted.

However, there is no reason to believe Sands could make up almost 12,000 votes or that these results after counting these ballots would be dramatically different than the rest of the count.

Regardless, Korn ran one of the most astonishing races in Broward I can remember.

Despite President Barack Obama’s overwhelming victory in Broward, the Republican Korn on Wednesday remained ahead by roughly 12,000 votes.

To say she had no campaign is no overstatement.

Her organization, was so broke it could barely afford signs. Her supporters complained that Korn attend enough campaign events.

It was so bad that the campaign’s original consultant quit before the primary.

But the campaign had three things going for it:

  • A gallant effort by Property Appraiser Lori Parrish, who promoted Korn where she went and opened up her network of contacts for the candidate.
  • A group of dedicated volunteers, whose mainstay was Fort Lauderdale-based school activist Mary Fertig. With little money the campaign had to fall back on free grass roots efforts, like extensive e-mail campaigns and friend-to-friend letters.
  • Franklin Sands, who was widely believed to only looking for any public office to land in after being term limited out of his Tallahassee job.  That image was fueled by Sands himself:  He dickered with running for Broward commission before deciding on the School Board.

I hate to write it because he’s a friend, but this one is another blow to well-known consultant David Brown. 

Brown lost his big county commission race two years ago when his candidate Steve Geller got creamed by County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger.  He apparently got beaten this time despite that Sands’ campaign was fueled by bundles of special interest money and had a Democratic label.

The best Brown can claim, if the absentees turns this around, is that he narrowly avoided losing. Not particularly good results for outspending Korn three-to-one.

But let’s not lay too much blame on Brown.  It is very hard to put lipstick on a pig.

Sands had no experience with the public schools.

And the voters wisely decided that Sands, 72, would be better off with shuffle board for his retirement years than a public paid job, pension and medical benefits on the School Board.

 Revenge: Lamberti’s Loss

 Sheriff Al Lamberti’s loss also surprised insiders. He was beaten for three reasons:

  • Revenge.  Lamberti picked a fight with Commissioner Sue Gunzburger two years ago by launching an ill-conceived and highly political investigation into her weeks before her re-election.  The unwarranted investigation was dropped, but Gunzburger’s son, political strategist Ron Gunzburger, has a long memory.  He volunteered to work on Israel’s campaign from behind-the-scenes and shaped many of the attack messages that led to voters questioning Lamberti’s integrity.
  • Lackluster campaign.  Lamberti never adequately answered the charges Israel’s campaign leveled against him. This included the devastating but true accusations of cronyism with Ponza schemer Scott Rothstein and that his campaign had hired a convicted drug felon.
  •  Party Label. Democrats romanced Lamberti before the campaign, begging him to switch parties and become one of them.   If he would have dropped his Republican membership,Lamberti would have had no challenge from Israel and would have won re-election.  Instead unlike Korn, Lamberti could not shake his party label.


Israel’s victory is a masterpiece for political consultant Amy Rose.  A former Young Democrat and part of the new wave of progressive Democrats, Rose struggled with Israel through a tough primary when every insider was initially backing Louis Granteed.

But Rose had a secret weapon, Ron Gunzburger, who was secretly advising her. The connection: Rose is a former aide to Sue Gunzburger.

Rose lost a big House race in the primary when her candidate Louis Reinstein was beaten.  This week, she won Israel and School Board member Abby Freedman this week.

I expect more big things from Amy Rose.


Bye Bye Gonzalez


It may be over for former Judge Jose Gonzalez, who lost his bid to return to the bench.

This is also now written with the caveat that the remaining absentees could change this.

Gonzalez had a lot of baggage, but so did his victorious opponent Laura Marie Watson.

In the end, even consultant Judy Stern couldn’t overcome the prejudices against a candidate with a Spanish-sounding name running against an Anglo.

Judge Bob Diaz won, but he was running against Roshawn Banks, whose name is far from Anglo.


20 Responses to “Update: Israel & Korn’s Amazing Wins”

  1. politics 101 says:

    The Republican big tent keeps getting smaller.

  2. Floridan says:

    I think one factor in Korn’s win was the feeling that Sands was one of those all-too-familiar politicians who move from position to position, just to stay in office . . . any office.

    This may not have been the deciding factor, but I know more than a couple people who felt this way.

    This is one of the less attractive aspects of term limits.

  3. Sunrise Resident Extraordinaire says:

    did Lamberti really have an amazing win?


    Obviously, no. My typo which I changed. It was a long night!

  4. Dear Buddy says:

    So Buddy, which is it, does your blog have no reach in the community or Julio lost because of his name. Seriously, people read your columns during the Julio candidacy and saw what a questionable person he was. He raised more money, had all the endorsements, was on every legit and bulshit palm card in existance. Give your blog and Watson credit, she beat him fair and square. This crutch about hipanics is just that a catchall excuse.

    While the volume of voters increased, the same the percentages from the primary clearly dictated the end result., Watson picked up some of Rhoda’s female vote and a good portion of Parker’s east side base where she lives.

    Give Watson and Lewis their due, they outwork Julio and Laura was found by the voters to be a better candidate.

    PS If its all about names, how come Judge Carlos Augosto Rodriguez whooped Frieda Goldstien in 2010. The name game is a myth now used by crap candidates and their formerly relevant consultants to justify their loss.


    I believe most people go to the polls and have no idea about the qualifications or background of any of the judicial candidates. Although people should pay attention who gets elected judge, it is off their radar.

  5. The other Judicial Race says:

    You forgot to mention Levine’s victory! Despite all the deceptive and fraudulent conduct by Nichols…..she took him down!


    Olga Levine will make a fine judge. As far as I know she ran an honest, above board campaign, while Nichols switched his message depending on where he was appearing.

  6. voter says:

    this blog informed many of us. Thank you Buddy.
    Now Sheriff Israel please get the county wide 911 system on fast track and be fair and honest on the costs. Thats why I voted for you.

  7. Broward Lawyer says:

    The name game is nothing more than an excuse used by losers. This is a county where almost 485,000 people voted for Barack Obama. The key to an election is money, hard work and good all fashion grass roots politicking. Julio had many negatives. That’s why he lost. Look at Judge Bob Diaz who won handily.

  8. Broward Resident says:

    Israel may have won the race, but in alot of peoples opinions he did not deserve it. You may not like Lamberti and I am not a fan, but Scott Israel has a terrible reputation and is not qualified. I think you will see things fall apart, just be patient and time will show.

  9. Red Broward's Evil Twin says:

    Wait! Didn’t you forget?

    Winter is Coming! Winter is Coming!

    I wrote about it all year and I promise you that it’s coming!

  10. broward resident says:

    I totally agree with Floridan. Sands just wanted to stay in some kind of office. Otherwise, why did he run for school board? He’s an old guy — no real connection to kids these day.

  11. disenchanted says:

    i hope im wrong, but i have to agree with number 7

  12. Broward Lawyer says:

    @ Broward Resident

    Are you saying Scott Israel = Miriam Oliphant?

  13. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Thank God Lamberti is gone. First thing you should do Sheriff Israel-is get rid of his inner circle. Benjamin, Thompson, Wheeler. Get rid of them. They don’t like you any ways. The horrible things they said about you Mr.israel-clean house. The Deputies are extremely happy and relieved Lamberti is gone. You ran a despicable campaign Al. See ya.

  14. Glad it is not me says:

    Poor Judy

    I would not would want to be the one who ran Mancini against Satz and did all she could to screw over Israel in the Sheriff’s race.

    Judy, having the Sheriff and SA as your enemies is not going to be fun.

    Even better, hope Joe Eggs doesnt violate his probation.

    I am wrong, EVEN BETTER, was to watch the great Joe Eggelletion driving around in a pickup truck putting signs in for Julio.

    Joe, since you have no pension, I would be willing to throw you a bone and you can mow my lawn or wax my car? Post your number and I will get back to ya.

  15. Banks was best! says:

    The worst part of this election was the Roshawn Banks result. The Census statistics show that blacks represent 27.4% of the population of Broward County. But take a look at the judges’ “mugshots”… how many of the county judges are black? Answer – zero. (And for extra credit, guess exactly how many of Broward’s Circuit Court judges are black!)



    Then look at Roshawn Banks. Navy veteran, passionate about the law, absolutely superb candidate. Out of the six circuit and county court candidates in this election, Banks was far and away the best. And she wasn’t even running for the highest (Circuit) position – only a lowly County Court position, at the very bottom of the judicial pyramid. And the result? She only got 222,594 votes, fewer than ANY other candidate – the exact opposite of what should have happened!

    Affirmative action is fading away now, but looking at Roshawn Banks and at the demographics of the judicial bench relative to the general population, in 2012, in what is supposedly Florida’s most progressive county (!!!), the Roshawn Banks situation is most certainly an extremely persuasive case for using it.

  16. Banks was best! says:

    Banks – raised $17,206.07 (all of it $$$ contributions, including $9,900 of her own money), and spent $16,443.96. Nearly all donations came from the general population (people who are not employed within Broward County’s legal sector).

    Diaz – raised $107,935.00 (including $21,500.00 as loans from himself), and spent $109,487.86. Nearly all donations came from people who are employed within Broward County’s legal sector (lawyers, police, bail bondsmen, etc.).

    The outsider vs. the insider. The old boy’s club welcoming one of its own with a steady rain of checks, leaving the outsider outside.

  17. just the facts says:

    I voted for Banks based on qualifications, not race or gender. she was young enough to be seeking a judgeship for the right reasons, not a comfy coast to retirement by her opponent. If his law practice was booming, he would not have run for the bench.

  18. Chickens have come home to roost says:

    How the mighty Judy has fallen…

    2006: Lost Jim Scott
    2008; Lost Israel
    2010; Lost Wisher twice in Sunrise and her daughter was embarassed by Moritias. Of course who can forget her boy Angelo” don ask me about Judy Stern” Castillo.

    2012 Ilene Lieberman, Julio Gonzalez and more this year below;

    Screwed over longtime friends Rodstroms and Jenne for Tim Ryan, who acts like he would rather be tortured than acknowledge he knows Stern.

    Dale Ross refused to have her associated with her race.

    Seiler will not acknowledge her anywhere near his campaigns and gives credit and talks up Ahearn at every turn.

    Jay Spechler and Ahearn get Watson to run against Julio.

    Amy Rose won the Sheriff’s race with Israel while Stern could not.

    Put up Chris Mancini to run against Mike Satz to settle a score on behalf of Joe Eggelletion.

    Gerri Ann Capotosto does nothing and pulls almost 10% more than your daughter did against Moraitis

  19. randy brown says:

    I voted for Donna Korn because I watch Board meetings. She is an articulate, intelligent representative and asks relevant questions when warranted. And I am a BTU member, voting against the recommendation.

  20. 2016 is coming says:

    Re: Buddy’s comment in #4…


    […] Christopher Mann, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Miami, said he saw no unusual trends in what elections analysts call “down-ballot roll-off.’’ The term reflects the phenomenon of questions farther down on ballots typically getting fewer votes. High-interest topics like gay marriage or marijuana legalization, however, would likely prove exceptions.

    Mann said the roll-off from a presidential race can typically hit 25 to 30 percent, with the least attention paid to races like county judgeships, where there is no political party listed and most voters know little about candidates.

    “A lot of voters don’t really understand what they’re voting on. They don’t know the judges, they don’t have any cues like political party affiliations,’’ Mann said. “They don’t feel like they have enough information, so they skip it.” […]