By: Sharon Aron Baron
Local and state candidates are getting ready for the 2014 election year. Campaign materials are being designed, Facebook pages are being created, and some candidates websites are complete with the requisite donation page.
Charlie Crist already had his first unofficial campaign rally when he spoke to hundreds of educators at a Florida Education association gathering this month. He even has his website up and ready to go, however, the only thing he hasn’t done is filed. Formally a Republican, Crist switched his party affiliation to Democrat in December of last year.
Former State Senator Nan Rich, who has filed, has been busy campaigning. Last weekend at the Florida Democratic Party conference in Orlando, she inspired the crowds who are building a grass-roots campaign to get her elected. The question is, will she have enough financial backing once Charlie Crist officially declares his candidacy?
Local candidates in Coral Springs are gearing up as well. Two people have announced they will be running in commission seat five: Joy Carter and Laurette Homan. Seat five is currently held by Vice Mayor Tom Powers who has announced he will run for the mayoral seat in 2014, as Mayor Vincent Boccard has been term-limited.
Three candidates have announced that they will run for seat four, currently held by Commissioner Claudette Bruck, whose term expires in 2014. They are: Lorraine Campbell, Howard Melamed and Brian Walsh.
Broward County Mayor Kristin Jacobs who serves District Two on the Broward County Commission will be running for Florida State Representative in District 96 which covers Parkland, Coconut Creek, Margate and a portion of Coral Springs. State Representative Jim Waldman, who faces term term limits, could end up running for state office or taking on Skip Campbell for a Florida Senate seat in 2016.
Jacobs, received national media coverage when she stood up to Governor Rick Scott who banned allowing trained workers, referred to as navigators, inside state department of health buildings to share information about the Affordable Care Act. Jacobs passed a motion allowing the navigators to share the information, due to the fact that they were inside of county owned buildings that were leased to the Florida Department of Health.
District Four School Board member Abby Freedman’s term is up in 2014. Typically a four-year term, David Thomas, who was elected in 2010, stepped down after one year due to his wife’s illness. Governor Rick Scott then selected Donna Korn in the interim until the 2012 elections. Freedman, who has not yet filed to run for reelection, spent over $100,000 of her own money to fund her last campaign.
Freedman may have a difficult time winning this time around after alienating so many constituents in Coral Springs and Parkland with divisive boundary proposals she created that would bus children unnecessarily across the county. Typically school board members do not write boundary proposals, and Freedman’s meddling may have cost her support.
So far, no one from the the District four area which also includes Tamarac, North Lauderdale, and parts of Margate have stepped forward to run. But there has been a lot of discussion online with several encouraging Parkland resident Robert Mayersohn to try again.
Mayersohn, who has twice run before and serves as Chair on the Broward Schools District Advisory Council Legislative Committee, Broward County Schools Attendance Community, Audit Committee, and sits on the ESE Advisory as School Board Member Robin Bartleman’s appointee, as well as a host of other positions is certainly well-equipped to be an excellent leader for the School Board, however, he needs the financial backing if he wants to compete against Freedman.
This next Monday may be a good day for statewide candidates to declare they are running for office because that is when Florida state law will change allowing individual campaign contributions to rise from $500 to $3,000.
More updates on local races throughout the year.