We Handicap the Candidates For Wexler’s Seat


The rare opening of a congressional seat in Florida is creating a political scramble.

U. S. Rep. Robert Wexler is expected to resign shortly.  Although nobody will announce they are running for his seat until he quits, at least four candidates are being discussed.

More could follow.  

These four have nothing to lose by running since Florida’s Resign-to-Run Law, which requires candidates give up their current position, doesn’t apply to those running for federal office.

Potential candidates include: 


Advantages:  He is from Palm Beach County, where a majority of the votes in Democratic primary in Congressional District 19 (approximately 167,000 in Palm compared to 70,000 in Broward) are located. Very plugged in to the Jewish community and national Democrats.  Good ability to raise money. If Deutsch can keep any other serious candidate from Palm Beach County out of the race, he wins based on the math of the district. Looks congressional on TV.
Disadvantages: Light on political experience having been a state Senator only since 2006.

Advantages: His major advantage is his father, lobbyist/lawyer Mike Moskowitz, who can raise a great deal of national Democratic money for his young son.
Disadvantages: Light on experience, having been a Parkland commissioner only since 2006.  He is 28-years-old, a hard sell in a district of many seniors, and would look very young on TV.

Advantages:  He is a multi-millionaire who can fund a great deal of his own campaign, a big bonus in a short special election. Used to live in the Palm Beach County portion of the district.  Knows technology as a former Yahoo! Executive and knows how to use it in his campaign. 
Disadvantages:  Not the best liked person in the Legislature nor the most engrossing campaigner. Light on experience, having been a state Senator only since 2006. The TV camera is not his friend.

Advantages:  A 90-day special election is all about television and Ritter, an attractive female, does well on TV. She has a solid resume Eight years in the Florida House and three years as a county commission, now Broward mayor. If she is the only woman the race, it is a major advantage especially among female voters.
Disadvantages:  It is questionable whether she can quickly raise the millions needed for this kind of race.  Her lobbyist husband Russ Klenet remains the subject of media speculation concerning his role — there has been no proof he did anything illegal — in the Mutual Benefits insurance scam.

Others mentioned for the job include Ben Graber, the former Broward mayor who I don’t give much chance of winning.  Where is he going to raise the money?  He would just be a spoiler.

Also part of the speculation is County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs. I think her candidacy is unlikely. 

She would be an interesting congressional candidate — attractive on TV, a resume with more than 10 years of commission experience, untouched by scandal after a decade (not easy on the Broward commission), a solid environmental record and a good record with Labor. 

The question is whether Jacobs can raise enough money.  She also lives outside the district.

13 Responses to “We Handicap the Candidates For Wexler’s Seat”

  1. Broward voter says:

    You sure about the resign to run not applying to Ritter or Moskowitz? I thought it only applied to state officials, no??

    FROM BUDDY: This is from the Division of Elections handbook on Resign-To-Run:
    Does the “resign-to-run” law require a state, district, county, or municipal officer to resign before running for federal office? No…the “resign-to-run” law would not preclude a sitting state, district, county, or municipal officer from qualifying as a candidate for federal office without resigning from the office the person presently holds as long as the officer is not also seeking to qualify for re-election to his or her present office (at the same time).”
    Since this will be a special election set long before anyone qualifies for 2010 reelection, they don’t have to resign.

  2. Run, Ted, Run! says:

    I think Senator Deutch is the best person to run. He has proven that he represents the ideals and beliefs of the district!

  3. No No Jeremy says:

    It is clear that Jeremy Ring wants to run for Congress. I’ve got to ask myself, just what has he done to deserve it.
    What about Skip Campbell? What’s he doing now?

  4. Marge says:

    If anyone has earned the seat it is Senator Nan Rich. She is very liberal, which is how the district seems to lean. She is one of the few politicians that have not been involved in scandal. Her knowledge, experience, work ethic, and issues would make Floridians proud to have her as a representative. She is honest and has already raised over 200,000 in a race where she has no opponent. She would get my vote.

  5. Broward voter says:

    Thanks for answering my question. Since Ritter isn’t up until 2012, she would not have to resign…

  6. Special Election says:

    When would the special election be held?

    FROM BUDDY: The governor sets the date of the special election. He has made no announcement yet.

  7. Tim Rubald says:

    I’ve heard that Broward Mayor Ritter is a possibility and know from querying her directly that she is unable to look forward and does not have the interest of ordinary citizens but does attend to special interests if you get my meaning.

  8. Resident says:

    I don’t know about Jacobs being so clean, because of the following:

    From the Sun-Sentinel the following quote:

    “They’re not going to buy my vote for the cost of a dinner. But I’m not going to let them pay for a cruise to the Bahamas,” said Platt. But now that he’s a lobbyist, he doesn’t consider golfing with Commissioner John Rodstrom or hosting Commissioner Kristin Jacobs at his North Carolina vacation home to be improper.”

    Since Platt is an admitted Lobbyist, isn’t there some sort of law that an elected offical cannot accept more than $100 from a Lobbyist? Wouldn’t you think that the acceptance by Jacobs of being hosted at his NC vacation home would exceed $100? It appears to be an outright violation of the law, which cannot be rectified by filing a gift report for exceeding $100 since it is outright prohibited.

    FROM BUDDY: I hate to break it to you and all the readers of the Sun-Sentinel, but the sentence was highly misleading.
    Jacobs never stayed at Platt’s house, although it appeared she did by the wording of the article. Here is her comment:

    “I must make it very clear that neither I, nor my family, have ever spent even a single night at Mr. Platt’s North Carolina home. What occurred, in fact, is that I was on a camping trip in a nearby town with my family and we were invited to the Platt’s home for dinner. As such, I can only assume the statement attributed to Mr. Platt was a hypothetical by him for purposes of getting his point across to the reporter on the issue of “buying” influence.

    “I fully recognize and understand the requirements of the state Code of Ethics as provided in the Florida Statutes, particularly as they pertain to the acceptance of “gifts” from lobbyists and the $100 threshold for accepting such gifts. I also recognize and understand that lodging in a private residence is construed in the Code as a gift, with specified valuation amounts for purposes of accepting and reporting. I am fully aware of this legal provision and have always complied with it. That being said, I would reiterate that neither I, nor my family, have ever accepted any such accommodation from Mr. Platt.”

  9. Candidates Aplenty says:

    Buddy, No No Jeremy raises a good question, have you talked to Skip Campbell?

    FROM BUDDY: I haven’t. Maybe tomorrow.

  10. Resident says:

    Glad Jacobs cleared that up. Something tells me that Platt may have a problem with Jacobs now.

  11. Bob Adams says:

    How about State Rep. Ari Porth? I told him some time ago that we would hake a great Member of Congress. He has great experience and is as honest as they come!

    FROM BUDDY: I’m a fan of Porth. I believe he has a big future, but I’m not sure it is his time yet. He probably would consider running for Jeremy Ring’s Senate seat, if Ring wins the congressional job.

  12. Clarke Anthony says:

    Won’t it be a little difficult for Ritter to run for Congress from prison?

  13. IMJUSTBEACHY says: