As the Republican challenger to Broward Mayor Ken Keechl, Chip LaMarca was interested to see how Keechl would perform against Beverly Kennedy, a Democrat who had far less money, experience, and name recognition than LaMarca can bring to the race.
"I feel pretty damned good, to be honest with you," says LaMarca of his general election matchup with Keechl. "He should have been able to get 80 or 85 [percent of the Democratic primary vote]. For him to get only 65, that's a red flag for his campaign."
I asked LaMarca for his theory on why Keechl couldn't light up the scoreboard against Kennedy:
"To me, the biggest thing is that he's the leader of this corrupt commission. People have seen that in headlines and on television. If you're working for a company of nine, where two people have been carted off to jail and there's a possibility that two more will follow, that's a failure of leadership."The other issue LaMarca hopes to exploit is Keechl's role in voting to build a new courthouse, despite the voters' declaring their opposition to the idea at the polls.
LaMarca expects Keechl to raise a half-million dollars, counting the funds spent on the primary, but the Republican says "a good message will make up for that difference." He also thinks that his money will go further than Keechl's. "The rent for my campaign office is about a quarter of his," cracks LaMarca, making a reference to the above market value rent that Keechl pays for a campaign headquarters owned by his partner, Ted Adcock.
It'll be a while before these two candidates clash in person. For the moment, their first joint appearance appears to be in a forum for the Imperial Point Homeowners Association on September 20.