Two Lawmakers Back Non-Partisan Sheriff Races


Sheriff Al Lamberti’s was a dramatic change for Broward.  He beat a Democratic challenger in this most Democratic of Florida counties.

Now Lamberti may trigger another big change in Broward politics non-partisan elections for sheriff.

State Sen. Jeremy Ring and state Rep. Jim Waldman, both Democrats, are set to introduce a non-partisan sheriff’s bill.  The bill would ask voters next year whether they want future sheriffs to be elected without party labels.

The bill might be heard as early Thursday at a Broward Legislative Delegation meeting.

Credit Waldman for the idea.  It’s the second gutsy bill he is promoting this session. 

Waldman is the sponsor of the tax hike on cigarettes to replace some of the state money lost in the economic downtown.  The Republicans are attacking him for that one.

Ring told me at the Kings Point Democratic Club today that he started to think about changing sheriff’s elections during the 2008 campaign season. 

He started to hear from Democrats that Lamberti “was very popular in my district, which is one of the most Democratic.  People didn’t look at him as a Republican.

“Some 80-year-old life long Democrats asked me for this change.

When Waldman came to him with the proposal, he jumped aboard.

“I don’t see how a Democratic or Republican label makes a better sheriff,” Waldman said.

Waldman also said the idea originated with Democratic constituents angry that Lamberti might lose just because he was a Republican.

Waldman said he was “not really sure whether I have the numbers to pass this, but at least it starts the debate.”

His biggest opposition so far:  state Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach.

“I would have thought Evan would take a pass on this (because of his father, former Sheriff Ken Jenne),” Waldman said.  

Others opposed to the bill are Democratic leader Mitch Ceasar and some of the black Democratic leaders.

Running as a Democrat is a significant benefit in Broward, which is why all the other constitutional officers like clerk of the courts will probably oppose the bill.

One who already is against it:   Property Appraiser Lori Parrish.


No surprise. Parrish probably fears that if the sheriff is made non-partisan, her office is next.

Waldman said that the other constitutional officers have nothing to fear.  Constituents asked for a non-partisan sheriff, but no one is asking to change the other offices.

Ring called a non-partisan sheriff “really good policy.

The change is a long way from happening.

First the bill would have to pass the Legislature.  Then voters in a referendum next year would have to approve it.

City officials, judges and School Board members are already non-partisan in Broward.

I agree with Ring and Waldman.  This is good policy.

There is no Republican or Democratic way to conduct law enforcement. 


8 Responses to “Two Lawmakers Back Non-Partisan Sheriff Races”

  1. Kevin T says:

    Why stop at sheriff? There is no real reason for a partisan supervisor of elections, clerk of court or property appraiser for that matter.

  2. Buddy Nevins says:

    I agree with you, Kevin.
    The political reality is that it would be hard enough making the sheriff’s job non-partisan, without having to create added opposition from Clerk of the Courts Howard Forman, Property Appraiser Lori Parrish and Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes. They will probably oppose this move, but not as hard as they would if they were threatened.

  3. LEO says:

    It is amazing a politician like Mr. Waldman and Mr. Ring get it. Law enforcement should be above politics.

  4. Fan of Buddy says:

    The truth is that you are supporting this becuase of your ex Ali Waldman. Why don’t you talk about that Jim Waldman?

  5. Champ P says:

    This is something that is needed because law enforcement is not political. Law enforcement is one of the noblest professions because the goal is to serve and protect the public. It has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat.

  6. Beth The Bounty Hunter says:

    Absolutely it should be non-partisan, it was on my mind when I attended forums and there were so many Dems. speaking and Lamberti never showed up.

  7. Kevin T says:

    If Al Lamberti did not show up, I bet it was because he was an R and not allowed to speak.

  8. Get Real says:

    There is no such thing as non-partisan. Get over it. It is an appearance when you say you’re non-partisan. Want proof? Watch how BSO doles out cash, to whom, in contracts and the people hired. Of course Lamberti will reward those that supported him, and mostly those were Republicans. The extention of the argument that Sheriff shouldn’t be partisan is that it shouldn’t even be an elected position. What Broward needs is an elected Mayor and a joining of these fiefdoms, all of them, in a more cost efficient manner. Appoint the best to each position for terms under contract like we do with the county auditor. That’s the intelligent move, the rest of this stuff is just BS.