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Broward primary elections will likely pick winners for Democrats in November

broward_elections.jpg
Carline Jean
/
South Florida Sun Sentinel

It's election week in Florida. Broward is a heavily blue county, so elections between primary Democratic candidates here usually decide the winner of the November elections.

WLRN’s Broward County Reporter Gerard Albert III spoke with Anthony Man about the ballot. He's the political reporter at the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The following is an excerpt of their conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity.

This is the first real test for Broward Supervisor of Elections. Joe Scott. He's had a few hiccups along the way. And just yesterday, Governor DeSantis announced 20 arrests for felons who voted in the 2020 election. What is the feeling among voters in Broward about election security?

Broward has gotten, for a long time, a lot of attention to election related issues. 

I think voters have heightened awareness and anything that looks as if it could be something that is new or different or wrong, generates a lot of interest - whether the level of concern should be high or not. I think we'll find out by how things go on Tuesday.

There are two heated races for Florida lawmakers going on in Broward. I want to start with Lauren Book and Barbara Sharif. What's your take on this race? And how did two rising-star Democrats end up facing off against each other?

That really is the hottest election so far of 2022. And it's going to be resolved on Tuesday because it's an open primary. Even though there are two Democrats, all voters can vote in that election. You had a newly drawn seat in the State Senate and both of them have major ties to that area. And both are ambitious up and coming politicians.

Lauren Book is the Democratic leader, she comes from a very prominent political family. And wants to retain a state state senate seat. Because of redistricting, her home was put in a different Senate District. Enter Barbara Sharif, who has represented a lot of that district also and she's out of office. She was a Broward County Commissioner, lost the special congressional primary last year, and she wants to remain in public office. And so it created a major clash. They each have different geographic bases. They each have demographically different levels of support, and there can only be one winner.

The other race making a lot of noise is Florida's 20th congressional district, which belonged to Alcee Hastings for almost 30 years. What stands out to you about this race?

What stands out is, it's a rematch - and it's a tough rematch. The incumbent won the special election after the death of Congressman Hastings and the incumbent Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick defeated Dale Holness by only five votes in the special Democratic primary for the congressional seat late last year. And Holness never accepted the results and immediately started running again. The thing to keep in mind is that people who vote in this election are really going to be very different than the people who voted in the special primary last year. Last time in the special primary, it was only thew congressional race that was on the ballot and it was conducted at a time people aren't usually voting in an off-year. 

There are plenty of other races and referendums on the ballot. What else are you watching out for on Election Day?

Probably the biggest other thing and I'll be watching out for on Election Day is the contest to succeed Congressman Ted Deutch, who is actually leaving office early. He's held that since 2010, and Democrats have held that for decades and probably will continue to do so. So an open congressional seat comes along and there's a very heated race between Jared Moskowitz, and Ben Sorensen, a Fort Lauderdale city commissioner, and then it'll be really interesting to see what happens with some school-related questions on the Aug. 23 ballot, because everyone can vote in school elections on Tuesday.

Gerard Albert III is back in Broward, where he grew up, after reporting on crime and public safety in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and West Palm Beach. Albert is a former WLRN intern who graduated from Florida International University.