Earl Rynerson, who's running for Fort Lauderdale mayor (again) against current Mayor Jack Seiler, deployed an interesting campaign strategy in his effort to get elected -- admittedly convincing someone else to run for mayor to force a primary election.
Rynerson doesn't specifically use the word, but it sounds like the third man running for office fits the definition of a "sham" candidate.
The reasoning behind this is that a primary race for mayor -- which is forced by having more than two candidates in the race -- is that it's the same day GOP voters are picking their new presidential nominee.
Since Rynerson constantly attacks Seiler's "spending addiction," as he calls it, he assumes he can garner more votes from the supposedly fiscally responsible Republican voters.
If Rynerson can get one vote past 50 percent in the primary, he would become the new mayor of Fort Lauderdale (same goes for Seiler).
Acknowledging that, Rynerson believes more people will vote on that state primary ballot than in the general municipal election, which takes place on March 13.
Here's how he explained it on his website:
I spoke to a number of people, asking them to consider running. I also posted a recent article on my web site here, asking more folks to consider running for office, whether it be for Mayor or for City Commissioner. A supporter of mine called me to ask if I would like him to run for Mayor, and I encouraged him to do so. He filed his papers yesterday, the City Clerk has certified his candidacy and we will now have the Mayoral election occur during the State primary. This will give an opportunity to more than just the normal 10% of the electorate to vote, and I think that's a good thing.
That supporter is Gabriel Crimi, who apparently has no history of running for office.
Fort Lauderdale watchdog Tim Smith was suspicious of Crimi's run, which was confirmed -- with an explanation -- by Rynerson.
"My friend Tim Smith has accused me of playing 'dirty politics,'" Rynerson says. "But as he and Seiler already know (and as I have recently learned), this is how politics works."
So, there you have it. That's apparently Rynerson's campaigning tactic -- in addition to asking for people to volunteer for him -- as he says there's "no way" he'll be able to raise money at the rate Seiler can.
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"A typical campaign raises funds to hire the people to educate and motivate voters," he says. "We don't have time for that now. I will be asking you to help me (more with your efforts than with your checkbooks) in the next few weeks."