11/03/14 - Monday’s Topical Currents is our semi-annual election preview.Tuesday is election day . . . and Florida should experience one of the closest races for Governor in modern history. There are many other statewide and municipal races, as well as a host of Constitutional matters.
Florida’s campaign finance laws make for a unique governor’s race. In an analysis of television advertising through late September, the Rick Scott and Charlie Crist campaigns hadn’t spent much on TV advertising. Political parties and political action committees known as PACs have done most of the spending.
Last Friday, former President Bill Clinton acknowledged to a crowd of Charlie Crist supporters a major challenge: to get voters, specifically in South Florida, out for the non-presidential election this Nov. 4.
Clinton was speaking at a downtown Miami hotel. He talked about the need for a Florida governor who will support key Democrat issues -- expanding Medicaid, preparing for rising seas and increasing the minimum wage -- but stressed the public's role in the election.
The primary election in Miami-Dade County was, for the most part, unremarkable. Voter turn-out was low, and there weren’t many contentious races
But at one North Miami precinct, every election is drama-filled.
Dozens of campaign volunteers lined the sidewalks around the Sunkist Grove Community Center on Northwest 125 Street and 13 Avenue.
They shouted at voters in English and Creole from bullhorns. They sprinted after unsuspecting drivers to shove fliers into their car windows. And they aggressively argued with one another over whose candidate will win.
In the quest for votes, candidates often vie for high profile endorsements.
In North Miami, the city has a history of mayoral candidates seeking and receiving endorsements from the son of the most high: Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday, campaign workers for North Miami mayoral candidate Jean Marcellus handed out fliers to voters with his picture and the word "Jesus" in bold blue print. The flier also had a declaration in French: "Victory in the blood of Jesus."
Marcellus was not immediately available for comment.
No long lines and quiet polling places are what most South Florida voters can expect so far during the primary election on Tuesday.
For most Democratic voters, the highlight of this election is getting to choose who will run against Republican Gov. Rick Scott in November: Charlie Crist or Nan Rich. But there are local races on the ballot, and some voters are finding it’s wise to go into the voting booth with a plan.
North Miami’s elections are typically drama-filled.
The upcoming mayoral election, triggered after former mayor Lucie Tondreau was arrested by federal agents and removed from office, is no different.
Three candidates are vying to replace Tondreau: Jean Rodrigue Marcellus, a former city councilman, Kevin Burns, a former two-term mayor and Dr. Smith Joseph, a local physician. All three men are familiar faces to voters; they ran for mayor last election against Tondreau.
Elections are over in Boca Raton. The fight for mayor ended with Susan Haynie defeating Anthony Majhess with 57 percent of the vote. This was the first mayoral race in recent Boca history that pitted two City Council members against each other.
Haynie has also served as Deputy Mayor and sits on several transportation planning boards, while Majhess is a professional firefighter in Palm Beach County. The biggest issue in the mayoral race had to do with building and expansion. Boca residents say with Haynie as mayor, the city will see much more urban development.