Read our interviews with Israel and Granteed.
You may not have heard of Louis Granteed -- he's better-known to local beat cops than to the general public -- but it would be a mistake to discount him in the Democratic primary for Broward sheriff on August 14. Turns out, he's raised a whole lot more in campaign donations than his Democratic challenger, Scott Israel.
Israel was a candidate in 2008 who lost to Lamberti, and his presence on the ballot is a deja vu for many, whether good or bad. He's raised
around $88,090 this election cycle, compared to Granteed's $155,921. [Update: Israel's campaign just sent its most recent report to the elections office, bringing its total to $112,940. Still a significant lag but within fighting distance.]
Inside: the circus of donors, including 27 bail bondsmen and 411-Pain.
Israel, who's been running a fairly low-key campaign, says he isn't worried -- and chalks up Granteed's success to early enthusiasm "from friends and family."
"He made approximately $85,000 coming out of the gate," Israel says. "We outraised him last quarter. It's a negligible difference, given my name recognition and résumé."
Running for sheriff is a funny thing in Broward and often involves more handshaking and fundraising than advertisements or public appearances. An early wave of Granteed's support reportedly came from several influential condo associations, while Israel hopes to retain the Democratic base he represented in 2008.
But the difference in campaign cash is hard to ignore or to explain away as beginner's luck. Granteed shows a lot of small individual contributions, which could be a testament to the grassroots support he boasts about, and both candidates have a whole bunch of law enforcement contacts on their side: Granteed spent his whole career as a Hollywood cop, to mixed reviews; Israel was chief in Dade's tiny North Bay Village and did a stint in Fort Lauderdale.
This being campaign finance, there are a few interesting things on both sides; Granteed has pulled sizable donations from auto dealership owner Craig Zinn, who's stayed out of the political spotlight, as well as from controversial lawyer/chiropractor referral service 411-Pain, which has used actors dressed as cops in its advertisements.
"We've had a connection with [411-Pain] through other people involved in our campaign who reached out to them," Granteed explains. "They're a totally legal company. I'm happy that they support the campaign."
Israel, for his part, has drawn contributions from no fewer than 27 area bail bondsmen. This seems like an odd alliance for a law enforcement official to forge, and bail shops aren't exactly associated with political prestige. Asked about the contributions, Israel says the bondsmen were "just friends I've made over the years who know me and believe in me." Strange.
We asked Granteed about a little controversy that's been brewing since the Sun-Sentinel's Brittany Wallman found records indicating he was registered as a Republican from 1986 to 1990. Granteed has campaigned extensively as a "lifelong Democrat," contrasting himself with Israel, who was a Republican in his younger days. Asked if he had ever been a registered Republican, Granteed said he was waiting for the secretary of elections to confirm some records. But does "lifelong Democrat" mean he's constantly been registered as a Dem?
"I registered as a Democrat on February 11, 1984," he replied.
And did he remain a Democrat ever since then? He was silent for a moment, then said, "Yes."