Desperate to turn around her losing record, controversial lobbyist/consultant Judy Stern is going “all in” with several candidates in upcoming City of Fort Laudedale Commission elections. Candidates for the Mayor’s seat and nearly every commission seat will face off in a January primary. The top vote getters will then square off in March 2018. Earlier this month, Republican Heather Moraitis won her District one seat unopposed.
Yesterday, BrowardBeat.com detailed Judy Stern’s involvement with Bruce Roberts’ campaign for Mayor. With the extremely popular Mayor Jack Seiler term-limited, Roberts, Commissioner Dean Trantalis and Charlotte Rodstrom are running to be the next leader of Fort Lauderdale. Stern has been spotted squiring Bruce Roberts at candidate forums and fundraisers.
Writing that the upcoming election may be her “Waterloo,” Buddy Nevins revealed how Mama Stern is a lobbyist for the controversial Bahia Mar project. “Judy has gone all in on Roberts. She needs him to win,” according to one BrowardBeat source. REDBROWARD heard a similar sentiment from a source close to Stern.
Nevins wrote, “some politicians are sick of Stern’s tactics. The nasty whispering campaigns. The backbiting.” It’s clear Roberts is not sick of her tactics.
In June, REDBROWARD revealed how Bruce Roberts, a longtime Republican, quit the GOP before the November 2016. Seven years earlier, Roberts declared,”“I’m a life-long Republican. Make no doubt about that.” In March 2016, Bruce Roberts opened his campaign to replace the term-limited Mayor Jack Seiler. In an email response to REDBROWARD, Bruce Roberts admitted he left the Republican Party a few months later. “My NPA voter registration card was issued 7/15/16,” Roberts wrote. The Commissioner did not respond to questions about his reasons for leaving the party he has called home since October 1969.
At the time, several political insiders believed Stern, a staunch Democrat and supporter of Hillary Clinton, was behind the move.
When the Sun-Sentinel asked about his party switch in October, Roberts laughably claimed it was illegal for him to discuss the move. After the State of Florida said he could discuss the matter, Roberts still refused.
“Whoever I voted for in any national election or state election or county government has nothing to do with city government,” he said. “I stand on my record. … In today’s world, no matter who I voted for, it creates an inappropriate boxing in of who I am.”
Despite her involvement with Bruce Roberts, Judy Stern is helping other Fort Lauderdale Commission candidates.
BEN SORENSEN ON TEAM SALAMI?
District four candidate Ben Sorensen has documented ties to Judy Stern. He is running against Warren Sturman and Walter Duke to replace the term-limited Romney Rogers. This not Sorensen’s first election. In 2014, Sorensen was a Democratic Party candidate for the Florida House District 100 seat serving Hollywood, Hallandale Beach and parts of Miami.
Published reports from 2014 documented how shadowy PACs (funded with Republican money!) attacked Sorensen’s Democrat opponent, Joe Geller. When asked about the PAC support, Sorensen told the Sun Sentinel, “I want to be the representative of everyone in District 100…not just the Democrats.”
In 2014, BrowardBeat wrote the PAC attack mailers were “full of lies.” Buddy Nevins wrote, “These mailers were done by a group that has done a pro-Ben Sorensen ad.” Nevins wrote the same group behind the mailers had done work for Broward County Commissioner Tim Ryan.
In 2012, this reporter revealed the close ties between Tim Ryan and Judy Stern. Judy Stern signed a large advertising contract on behalf of Tim Ryan’s campaign for the Broward County Commission, showing Ryan was misleading voters when he tried to deflect attention from a campaign scandal by saying Stern “is not on my payroll.” The contract, obtained exclusively by Media Trackers Florida, shows Stern authorized a $40,000 television advertising purchase on the Ryan campaign’s behalf.
Will Fort Lauderdale voters allow Judy Stern to control the City Commission? Will these candidates explain their ties to a lobbyist who appears before the City Commission?