Broward political veteran and erstwhile radio host Beverly Kennedy says she's going to step into the ring to challenge Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl, who has been dogged by his own broken promises to constituents and a campaign spending scandal.
"We need a change from the Stacy Ritters, Ken Keechls, and Ilene Liebermans," Kennedy told me last week, referring to the three beleaguered county commissioners. "I'm going to run on issues and give people a choice."
Rumors have been swirling about potential challengers to Keechl, but Kennedy is the first to make public her intention to file for the seat. She's run unsuccessfully for numerous political offices and is the wife of Ed Kennedy, a former Broward County commissioner and clerk of court.
There are already signs the race could get nasty. Kennedy, a recently converted Democrat, told me she had an unpleasant experience with Keechl's domestic partner, Ted Adcock, at the Democratic Party's Unity Dinner earlier this month at the Marriott Heron Bay.
Kennedy said Adcock, who went on a recent campaign-financed trip to San Francisco with Keechl, approached her at the dinner and asked her if she was running against his partner. She indicated that, yes, she would. "I don't remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect of they would dig into my past and make me regret the decision," she said. "I said, 'Are you threatening me?' "
She's started a website, Beverly4Broward.com, to test the waters and says she's intent on giving voters a viable alternative to Keechl, who has already spent more than $100,000 from his developer- and lobbyist-loaded campaign coffers, including paying rent to himself on a home-office he and Adcock own in Wilton Manors. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has received a criminal complaint in that case alleging that Keechl inflated the rent on the bungalow.
It's great to see some action in that race, if for no other reason than the mayor will finally have a legitimate excuse to spend some of his campaign fortune on something other than himself.