[UPDATED] Election Was a Campaign Consultants' Battle Royal; So Who Are Winners and Losers?
In the months before yesterday's election, Broward candidates lined up behind campaign rainmakers who possessed extraordinary powers for rounding up votes. Of course, they would share these powers only if the price was right. Since incumbents could outraise their challengers, incumbents could afford to pay the campaign operatives.
To make things a bit more fun, let's give these campaign operative teams nicknames, treat this election like it's just a big softball tournament, which it kind of is.
The Norma RoyalsJohn "Jay" Hurley: County Court Group 12 ($1,255) WONLinda Pratt: County Court Group 13 ($1,016) WONMary Rudd Robinson: County Court Group 14 ($515) WONNate Klitsberg: County Court Group 26 ($1,427) LOSTKenneth Gillespie: State Circuit Judge Group 2 ($1,712) WONElijah Williams: State Circuit Judge Group 4 ($1,350) WONMatt Destry: State Circuit Judge Group 15 ($2,300) WONCarlos Rebollo: State Circuit Judge Group 22 ($2,800) WONAlan Bernstein: State Circuit Judge Group 23 ($1,600) LOSTEileen O'Connor: State Circuit Judge Group 53 ($1,362) WONRhoda Sokoloff: State Circuit Judge Group 53 ($2,100) LOSTRobert Mayersohn: Broward County School Board, District 4 ($1,475) LOST
UPDATE: Next, let's see how Shifrel's "Jack Rabbits" fared in yesterday's election.
The Jack Rabbits
John "Jay" Hurley: County Court Group 12 ($800) WON
Robert Jakovich: State Circuit Judge Group 15 ($1,000) LOST
Carlos Rebollo: State Circuit Judge Group 22 ($1,750) WON
Alan Bernstein: State Circuit Judge Group 23 ($3,000) LOST*
Lee Seidman: State Circuit Judge Group 51 ($4,500) LOST
Rhoda Sokoloff: State Circuit Judge Group 53 ($1,750) LOST
* I put an asterisk next to Bernstein's loss, because he had a falling out with Shifrel midway through the campaign that Bob Norman reported here.
This was a fairly disastrous showing for the Jack Rabbits, with an overall record of 2-4. And of those two wins, one was Hurley, who didn't spend enough on Shifrel to make the argument it made a difference in the race; and the other was Rebollo, an incumbent who won by just 1,300 votes, despite spending five times as much as his challenger, Bob Nichols.
You can bet it will be a little harder in the next campaign cycle for Shifrel to convince judges it's worth paying him to ensure that their names make it on condo palm cards.
Barry Harris, your team is up.
Nate Klisberg: County Court Group 26 ($500) LOST
Debra Steinsaltz: County Court Group 3 ($3,000) LOST
Lloyd Golburgh: County Court Group 4 ($1,380) LOST
Rhoda Sokoloff: State Circuit Judge Group 53 ($500) LOST
Dave Thomas: Broward County School Board, District 4 ($8,000) WON
Harris is going to try to argue that yesterday's election proved once and for all that candidates have to spend several thousand dollars on him, Dave Thomas-style, if they want to win. But with an overall record of 1-4, good luck with that pitch.
It's not all doom and gloom. Next we'll identify a newer, more successful generation of political consultants, beginning with the Sunstream Obamabots, so called because its two principals, Ashley Walker and Jackie Lee, cut their teeth during Obama's Florida campaign two years ago. They're young, smart, and thus far we've got no evidence they're unethical, which in a cynical political county like Broward might hurt their business.
Ken Gottlieb: County Court Group 20 ($4,060) WON
Carlos Rebollo: State Circuit Judge Group 22 ($17,000) WON
Laurie Levinson: Broward County School Board, District 6 ($2,000) WON
Here's a team that won with just three players -- maybe we should call them the Miami Heat? Rebollo, who also hired Harris, Shifrel, and Goldstein, spent the vast majority of his consultant budget on Sunstream, so if any outfit gets credit for helping Rebollo beat the jinx against Latino candidates, it's Sunstream. As a former state senator, Gottlieb had a big advantage in name recognition in his race against Steven Schaet, so that result wasn't a surprise. But Levinson's convincing defeat of Phyllis Hope for School Board was quite the stunner, and since Sunstream was the only consulting group Levinson hired, it deserves praise for engineering that victory. (Although Hope's boarding the FBI yacht with Beverly Gallagher made her a little easier to pick off.)
Next, another new figure on the scene: Amy Rose.
I'm told Rose was a disciple of the
Godmother of Broward political operatives, Judy Stern. Correction: Rose was actually a disciple of another Godmother of Broward politics, Barbara Miller. Sorry about the mix up.] These days, Rose runs a consulting firm she calls Win on the Ground, based in Coconut Creek. Here are her candidates:
The Rose Bowlers
Kenneth Gillespie: State Circuit Judge Group 2 ($3,000) WON
Barbara Anne McCarthy: State Circuit Judge Group 23 ($5,000) WON
Frank Luzzo: State Circuit Judge Group 24 ($6,000) WON
Sandra Perlman: State Circuit Judge Group 51 ($5,000) WON
Yes, it looks like Rose learned a thing or two from
Stern Miller. But let's hope Rose shows a bit more restraint when it comes to seeking influence after she puts a candidate in office.
Let's wrap this up by taking a peek at how Fort Lauderdale attorney Ed McGee performed for his clients.
McGee works as treasurer for campaigns, but it's clear that his services are a bit broader than that, so we'll count him among the consultants.
John "Jay" Hurley: County Court Group 12 ($13,500) WON
Elijah Williams: State Circuit Court Group 4 ($9,000) WON
I could have sworn that McGee had at least one more candidate, but these two are confirmed. McGee stands a good chance of getting more business in the next cycle based on this showing.
A few other consultant types:
- Terry Scott: The Deerfield Beach operative was paid $4,265 to be campaign manager in Travis Williamson's bid for the District 7 School Board seat but won only 24 percent of the vote, losing to Nora Rupert.
- Dan Lewis: The Fort Lauderdale operative who specializes in hit mailers was paid $58,000 by Lisa Porter and nearly $10,000 by Gillespie. Both judicial candidates won reelection.
- Judy Stern: Every election cycle, it seems to get harder to detect her presence, as she guides candidates to not pay her directly. But there's no question she had a role in Angelo Castillo's bid for
School Boardcounty commission, and she must be devastated that he was so thoroughly trounced by Barbara Sharief.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.