Understand that this is primarily a form of delayed self-flagellation, as I know full-well that these prognostications will most likely make me look foolish tomorrow morning. But here's what I'm thinking:
-- Scott Israel will be the new Broward County sheriff, but he's only barely going to squeak by appointed Sheriff Al Lamberti. Israel wins for two reasons and two reasons only: his last name and the "D" next to it. Lamberti probably would have prevailed in normal times even though he's a Republican, but this year Obama is going to bring out beaucoup Democrats and enough of them are going to vote straight party line to put Israel over the top.
-- Chris Chiari will beat Ellyn Bogdanoff for her state rep seat. Yeah, I'm making that call. Chiari, too, will benefit from the Obama effect, but this prediction is about more than that. Bogdanoff has managed to become less popular the longer she stays in office. When she joined forces with Marco Rubio in Tallahassee, she lost her stake to the moderate Republican role. Now she's viewed as a hardcore GOPer and, worse for her, she's symbolically tied at the hip of Sarah Palin, whom she's been touting as a member of the "Sarah Palin Truth Squad." This year, Bogdanoff has been shunned by the Broward Teachers Union, the Broward County Council of Professional Firefighters, the Broward AFL-CIO, the Palm Beach AFL-CIO, and the Florida AFL-CIO. A telling moment came when she attended the firefighers' ball in July, where she learned that Chiari had won the council's endorsement. Council President John McNamara tells me Bogdanoff threw a fit, berating him and other council leaders at the ball. "She started yelling, saying 'how dare you embarrass me like this,' and 'you don't know who I am,'" McNamara recalls. "She dropped the F-bomb and just made a scene. We had just given some kids some scholarships and they were sitting there watching this. It was totally out of line." When Bogdanoff's not yelling at former supporters, she's often avoiding her opponent, Chiari, repeatedly failing to show up for debates. Understand that two years ago, Bogdanoff had every major endorsement, didn't have the Obama vote to contend with, and Chiari still managed to give her a big scare at the polls, snaring 46 percent of the vote. I think he squeaks it out this time.
-- Other local predictions worth noting in the judge's races: Bernie Bober over Pedro Dijols, Merrillee Ehrlich over Paul Eichner and, unfortunately, Steve Feren over Mark Rickard. One school board race: Ann Murray over Rick Saltrick.
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-- And finally, Barack Obama will beat John McCain not only in Broward (of course) but in Florida and a great majority of the rest of the country. The Age of Ignorance is almost over and the scoundrels currently occupying the White House will soon be out of power forever.