It's high-octane campaign season, and Democratic sheriff candidate Scott Israel is hammering the incumbent, Al Lamberti, for his and his underlings' close association with convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. That's only a little hypocritical, seeing as Rothstein firm money was directed toward Israel as well. But Israel is also criticizing Lamberti for something else: his party affiliation.
Lamberti is a Republican sheriff in a Democratic county, which meant it made a lot of political sense when he stated that he'd like the sheriff's office to be nonpartisan. (Guys, I'm only a Republican because I have to be... swear!)
But lately, he's been looking a little more Red.
This could be because Lamberti anticipates a lot of Republicans heading to the polls in November to kick out Obama and vote down the ticket. Or maybe he's just taking the support where he can get it.
Last night, Lamberti was the keynote speaker at a meeting of the Broward Republican Executive Committee. The Broward Tea Party has endorsed Lamberti in the general election, and he's been prominently calling himself "Republican for Broward County Sheriff" in campaign literature.
"There's nothing political about being sheriff. No matter what you do, it's not Democrat, it's not Republican, it's just being the sheriff," Lamberti told the Sun-Sentinel back in 2010.
Both sheriff candidates have a strange relationship with political parties. Scott Israel used to be a Republican and was a member of the Republican Executive Committee before which Lamberti spoke last night. He changed to Democrat to challenge Lamberti in the 2008 election.
Executive Committee Chairman Richard DeNapoli says that this isn't Lamberti's first time speaking to the members and that the group is supporting Lamberti because "he's in it for the right reasons; he's our sheriff." DeNapoli says that Lamberti is "not a highly partisan type of individual" and that the Republican committee is one stop among many for the sheriff.
But Israel, when he's not making Rothstein allusions on his Facebook page, is pointing out Lamberti's Republican leanings, comparing him to Mitt Romney and the unpopular governor, Rick Scott.
The other Democratic challenger, Louie Granteed, who was felled by Israel in the primary, got in some hot water for calling himself a "lifelong Democrat" when voter registration records seemed to reveal that he too had dabbled in Red.