"As a child I wanted to be Superman," wrote Mitch Ceasar, in a column for the Huffington Post website last February. "But without a cape and alas special powers," he admits he settled for Broward County Democratic Chair.
Ceasar also wanted to be a comedian, as he told NBC 6's morning news show in 2007. But lacking a sense of humor, Ceasar's standup act earned him a lifetime ban from the program. And he settled for party chair.
Ceasar wanted to be a lobbyist and, well, actually it turned out that this is one job he could handle -- especially since he was the party chair.
But now Ceasar may be losing his grip on the job he seems to have taken for granted. This past fall, under Ceasar, established Broward Democrat organizers looked flat-footed compared to the Obama campaign volunteers that stormed the state in late summer. And those same local dems looked feckless again on election day, failing to win the Broward Sheriff's race and losing an expensive bid to unseat Republican state senator Jeff Atwater.
Now the Obama campaign refrain for "change" has been turned against the county's Democrat leadership. Former congressman and state Sen. Peter Deutsch decided last week to challenge Ceasar for party chair, and a coup attempt is set for this weekend.
"Mitch's job is that he's a lobbyist," says Deutsch. "By definition, you have dual loyalties." Deutsch wants more "transparency" for cash contributions to the party, plus a culture of "inclusion" that he finds lacking in Ceasar's Democrats. "There's been an attitude in the past that the smaller, more centralized it is, the better it is - because it's better for Mitch." The party's grassroots have been neglected.
But the most recent offense for Deutsch and his supporters was Ceasar's tepid support for Linda Bird, the realtor who emerged as the party's best hope to knock off Atwater after the campaign of Walter "Skip" Campbell collapsed. Party sources say Ceasar held a grudge against Bird because he believed she was engineering his ouster.
Ceasar did not return calls for comment.
"As far as I'm concerned that episode is enough to disqualify him as the Democratic chair," says Deutsch, of Ceasar's enmity with Bird, who would become the state and national committeewoman if Deutsch wins.
Only the roughly 900 members of the Democratic Executive Committee are eligible to cast ballots for party chairman, December 7, at Millennium Middle School in Tamarac.
For Ceasar's sake, let's hope this meeting goes a little better than the last time a guy named Caesar encountered hostile politicians. That footage was so graphic that only HBO would air it:
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.