The Next Election: Good Ol’ Boys Last Stand


Mitch Ceasar, the retired Broward Democratic Chair.

Paul Backman, a retired  Broward Circuit Judge who was on the bench more than 30 years. 

Howard Forman, the retired former Broward Clerk of the Courts who first took office in Broward in the 1970s.

Tom Lynch, another retired judge.

What do they have in common? They are seeking a comeback in next year’s election.

Add to that group potential candidates like former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler and aging political consultant David Brown.

Mitch Ceasar files for office this week. His wife, Donnie, is on his right.

Next year is shaping up as the last stand of the Good Ol’ Boys.

New versus Old. 

Very Old.  

Voters will decide next year whether to turn the reins over to a new generation. 

Or whether the experience of seniors is more important than anything else. Whether experience trumps a fresh way of looking at problems. 

There is a lot to be said for the wisdom gained from age. Ceasar and his grey-haired compadres have been there, done that.

There is also a lot to be said for office holders who better reflect today’s Broward— more diverse and younger. 

Next year more than ever, ability to do the job is what should count more than experience.  

That’s because four powerful countywide offices are open and up for grabs — Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections, Public Defender and State Attorney.  

These are largely management jobs, with budgets in the millions and hundreds of employees. 

It doesn’t matter if the next State Attorney has the right ethnic background or if they are part of the next generation. They need to be able to run a huge, sprawling government office. 

Backman has longevity, but has he ever managed a big office? Has Ceasar? Has any other Good Ol’ Boys?

Unfortunately voters often choose candidates for the wrong reasons — age, ethnic background, gender, ballot position, name or age. Ability to manage is way down the list. 

That can be a disaster. 

One only have to look at the discredited Clerk of the Courts Brenda Forman. 

Ms. Forman won her job three years ago because of her name. She was married to long-time Broward pol Howard Forman. 

She also won because of her ethnic background. She is black. 

Once in office it quickly became apparently that Ms. Forman was over her head. She was drowning in documents that her office regularly misplaced, we hear. 

Now after bungling her job, Ms. Forman is under investigation for lying under oath and other wrongdoing. 

Ms. Forman had the right name and ethnicity to win. She was part of a new generation. She just didn’t have the ability and, some say, the honesty to do the job. 

That’s one advantage of the Good Ol’ Boys candidates.  Voters know what they are getting based on resumes and history. There should be no surprises. 

But surprises can be a good thing. 

A candidate that looks like a kid can come up with terrific ideas once in office. 

Sometimes voters have to take a chance on new faces. Someone never tried before. Someone who was in their crib when the Good Ol’ Boys were courting Depression Era condo voters.  

Every time you vote, there is a risk. 

It will be interesting to watch whether voters finally retire the Good Ol’ Boys. Forever this time.  

19 Responses to “The Next Election: Good Ol’ Boys Last Stand”

  1. Ann Ruth Zucker says:

    Buddy – you forgot to mention Clerk of the Courts, another Countywide office that another retired politician is running for. Howard Forman has filed.

  2. Chaz Stevens, Retired says:

    And yet Buddy, here you are … an old white guy … which part of younger and diverse are you?


    As a baby boomer aged woman, I do not appreciate your reference to my generation as “very old”. “Aging” improves so many things…many birthdays…much wisdom!

    I certainly hope that David Brown does choose to file for SOE again. He received a phenomenal endorsement from the Sun-Sentinel in 2018 when he ran against disgraced Snipes. He was the right person for the job then and he’s the right person now.

  4. Retreads says:

    Please, just no, Mitch “the grouper” Ceaser will be on the ballot with Biden “the other grouper”, Howard “I’m ancient” but I want my job back that I worked so hard for my ex-wife, with negative experience, to get, until she dumped me, Jack “the party planner” Seiler who is the local Charlie Christ having jumped from office to office, and never accomplishing anything, except poop in the streets- overdevelopment, cleaning out the reserves, as I make my way as mayor of Wilton Manors, state rep for Wilton manors, mayor ft laud and now on to the next office to pump up that state rep pension.
    And 2 old pension collectors

  5. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    First Mike Satz thank u for charging Perterson( finally).Win,lose or found not guilty it doesn’t matter.These victims families need closure.And if it takes Deputy Peterson going to jail- So Be It.Now with retirement from the SAO now go smell the roses.Or go into private pratice- move over Larry Davis here comes Mike Satz.Now I think the best canidates for that position would be Jack Seiler.Good luck Jack.As far as the others hate to break it to you but the general voters have no idea who u r.Nontheless ,2020 should be an exciting election season.And with Ft.Lau Mayor race to coincide with all this we should have here in Ft.lau a huge turnout.Now Charlotte Rodstrom,Robert Walsh,Dean Trantalis.What a line up.One thing for sure one of us would win( winner take all- no Primary).. Good luck to all…

  6. Sick of It says:

    How many times is David Brown going to run for supervisor?

  7. Freddie Runaway says:

    Backman? Who is that?

  8. Rightwinger says:

    #7. I think Backman might had been a Judge. No Administrative experience needed. I don’t believe Mr. Forman has ever lost an election. he will very hard to beat.

  9. A voter says:

    So let me get this right, you say that we shouldn’t vote for these “older” men because they have never run a large office, but we should vote for someone “young” even if they have never run a large office? Didn’t The comptroller of the PD’s office run for clerk three years ago? Under your definition she was qualified and the perfect candidate, young fresh face. Yet she lost. Probably because she was an outsider, not a politician. She didn’t have a chance because she was not a name anyone knew. (In fact I can’t even remember her name now).

    It’s politics. Plain and simple.

    I think Any of these candidates can run the clerks office or the SOE. They have held political positions that have involved the betterment of the community. Brenda Forman was a Secretary at the state attorney’s office and then a clerk until she married Howard. She was a new fresh face under your definition but she had no experience and no college degree. She got elected nonetheless .

    Voters need to be informed! Please do what you can to post voter info- unbiased -candidate qualifications. The key here is unbiased!


    You start out your comment by writing, “Let me get this right…”

    Yes, get it right. I never wrote that anyone should vote for someone young or someone old. I just laid out the situation.

    Actually I wrote “voters will decide” and “ability to do the job is what should count.”

    FYI: As long as offices like Sheriff and Clerk of the Courts are decided in elections, there will be politics. Campaigning and elections are political processes.

  10. Red Check Mark says:

    Fix it, your writing like Walsh.

    One only have to look at the discredited Clerk of the Courts Brenda Forman.

  11. Ageism says:

    This piece is “ageist”.

  12. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @9 – Her name is Elizabeth McHugh.

    McHugh has a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Florida Atlantic University. McHugh started out as a law clerk in the Public Defender’s Office 28 years ago. She was promoted to various budgeting jobs with increasing responsibility over the years.

    Today, she is is the Administrative Director of the Broward Public Defender’s Office, responsible for the finances of the $20 million agency with 230 fulltime employees.

    All that experience would get her the job if professional management and finance ability were the only skills that mattered, but this job must be won in an election.

    This is especially relevant now, because in 2025, the responsibility for handling Broward County’s finances moves from the County Administrator to the Clerk of Courts:

    Elizabeth McHugh’s exceptional knowledge and ongoing experience as the person in charge of the $20 million finances of the Clerk of Courts make her the very best candidate to take on the additional responsibility of handling all of Broward County’s finances when this 2025 relocation of responsibility takes place.

    Let’s stop electing unqualified people to high-level positions of responsibility in Broward County! Elizabeth McHugh is exactly the right candidate for this job.

  13. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    Bottom line.Votets( residents) I sick and tired of this who’s who of whoville calling the shots.They are taxed($) everything from water and sewer bills ( going up) to just about anything to co- exist in .Fifty bucks here( I love it when these elected officials say it’s only 50 bucks more a year( it adds up).The voters don.t give a rats ass how long u been around and or your political clout and or connections.These voters want change where it saves them in their check books.What do they get million dollars to give to homeless people for free apartments to CRA monies given to greedy developers and their attys who represent them etc.Instead of show me the money they want show me how u can save me 💰.Again all these above mentioned names the majority of these residents( voters have no idea who u r).Raise a million dollars unless u have a plan to save these residents money u ain.t got a chance…

  14. Such a pity says:

    # 12 You are absolutely correct. Elisabeth McHugh would be the ideal person to run a large office like Clerk of the Courts seamlessly. There is only one problem, Elisabeth McHugh truly wanted the job for the job’s sake, but was so turned off by the political system and the dirty politics, that Elisabeth McHugh swore she would never set herself and her family up for that again. Another great candidate lost to the abyss of Broward politics.

  15. Stormwatch says:

    Paul Backman would be a great Clerk of the Courts and Mitch Ceasar is a good choice for Supervisor of Elections. Both men are well qualified, have nice demeanors, and are generally well liked.

  16. rob says:

    Miriam Oliphant is another example of demographics trumping competence in Broward.

    As for $#!t-in-the-Street Seiler, Lord help us if he’s ever put in a position of real executive authority. He does have great experience at ribbon cuttings, leading parades and painting green stripes down Las Olas.

  17. Robert says:

    I’m a baby boomer and am indeed… Very old. Very old happens to be very cool. I can bitch and moan where ever I am and whenever I like. I can challenge the publix cashier when she rings up a vine ripe tomato instead of the plum which I placed right there on the belt. I’m so diggin being very old. I always get fed first at thanksgiving and can sympathize with Larry David.

  18. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    These elected officials Ft.Lau in reference to Mayor Trantalis.Sure Dean support and vote to give yourself a raise( the next commission) but vote no for a raise for police and fire.Shameful.I mean your talking about giving the Mayor salary a 50 grand raise Unreal….That and 10g for the couch in your office.( I know floor sample.).See u in 2020….

  19. Jaque says:

    Broward is on a trajectory to become the Chicago of the South.