If you thought the race between Broward County Commissioner Sue Gunzburger and former state Sen. Steve Geller was going to be an austere and polite affair, think again. Here's the first television spot from Gunzburger:
You'll notice Gunzburger, whose campaign is being run by her son Ron, includes a piece of mine concerning what Gunzburger calls an $800,000 "bailout" (hot-button word alert) for a developer in Hallandale Beach. Let there can be no doubt that Geller's political status as senator gave him extra juice as a lobbyist before cities that relied on him for favor from the state. It's a practice that really should have been outlawed a long time ago.
You may remember that Geller asked Gunzburger at one point to agree to an attack-free race. Now what fun would that be? Such a play-nice pact would rob the voters of a robust race and of any chance to learn about the true nature of the candidates. It would actually be something of an outrage.
People always decry "negative campaigning," but it's an
essential and important part of our democracy. If Geller is a lobbyist for developers whose net worth soared while he was making $35,000 a year in the state Legislature, isn't that something the voters should know? The key is that the ads be truthful and substantive rather than false and cheap. The commercial above is essentially true, though the use of the term sleazy might be called into question. But that's a style thing the voters can discern for themselves.
Don't think Geller doesn't have some ammunition to use against Gunzburger as well. I hear the campaign will be making an issue out of Gunzburger's alleged "pay to play" practices, wherein her votes followed big money contributions.
To both sides, I say bring it on, and may the least sleazy candidate win.