A review of campaign documents, business records and domain registrations shows one Broward County Commission candidate created the campaign website for his opponent. McKinley Williams II is challenging controversial Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness for the Democrat nomination to the District 9 seat. To help promote his campaign, Williams opened the “McKinleyForBroward.Org” website.
Williams launched his County Commission campaign in July 2014. Records show the website domain names, “McKinleyForBroward.org” and “McKinleyForBroward.com” were purchased on September 9, 2014 by Robert Smith. A week earlier, Williams paid Robert Smith $120.00 for “campaign work.”
No big deal you say?
Well, on March 16, 2015, Robert D. “Chris” Smith entered the District 9 County Commission Race as a No Party Affiliation (NPA) candidate. On his campaign paperwork, Smith lists his email as “email@example.com.” This is the same email used to register the McKinley Williams websites. Smith appears to be a man of mystery.
Smith uses a Fort Lauderdale apartment complex as his address, but he does not list an apartment number. According to social media sites, Smith a technology expert, regularly hosts technology and commerce networking meetings in the south Miami/Dadeland area. Even more mysterious is Smith’s nickname.
Other than his campaign documents, no records show Smith using the nickname “Chris.” Social media, corporation and online resumes show Robert Smith or Robert D. Smith. Last month, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported how Smith’s nickname may be a political ploy against another potential Holness challenger.
Political reporter Brittany Wallman reported the term-limited State Sen. Chris Smith is rumored to be interested in the District 9 seat. “If Sen. Smith runs for the seat, and if he were victorious in the August Democratic primary, he’d share the ballot with the other Chris Smith, undoubtedly leading to some confusion,” Wallman wrote.
State Sen. Smith laughed off the ploy. “I’m just proud I made ‘Chris Smith’ such a popular name in Central Broward County,” he said.
McKinley Williams II did not respond to requests for comment.
In a brief telephone conversation with REDBROWARD, Smith admitted to creating the Williams website. When asked if there is a reason why he’s now running against Williams, Smith said, “Why, yes there is. But I need to get back to you.” Smith said he has lived in Fort Lauderdale since 2010.
We will update this story when we hear back from Mr. Smith.