And now there are four,
four candidates that is, running to be the next Mayor of Fort Lauderdale. My initial guess was that there might be 7 candidates in the race before it’s all over, so maybe we’re just a little more than half way there!
The latest to jump in is former Commissioner Dean Trantalis.
Trantalis served only one term as the Commissioner for District Two. That District is a very complicated district that includes some of the city’s richest citizens that live along Las Olas in the Isles, and some of the poorest that live in South Middle River along Sunrise Boulevard.
Trantalis was known as a cerebral Commissioner, quite thoughtful, but with little tolerance for the little gritty details that Commissioners face daily. When he announced that he would not run for a second term, it was widely believed that he had lost his taste for the job, and was pining for his private life back.
Now, Trantalis says that he decided not to re-enlist because “with matters seemingly taking the right direction, it seemed safe to step back from politics, having served my public”.
He added, “unfortunately, so many of these [his] accomplishments began to crumble”, so he has to get back in to straighten things out. And he says he can be effective as Mayor, bring respect for diversity back to the City, and fix the Commission that is “plagued with petty bickering”.
Trantalis has always enjoyed the support of a large voting block within the Gay and Lesbian community, and he became a champion of the slow growth movement in the City during his years on the dais, but it seems unlikely that he will be able to muster enough votes citywide to win.
The other three.
Commissioner Cindi Hutchinson, the first candidate to get in, has served on the City Commission for nearly 9 years. She is term limited, and there was speculation early on that she would run for County Commission John Rodstrom’s seat, but settled on a run for Mayor instead.
Hutchinson probably has the highest percentage of “name recognition”, an important barometer that political pundits look at to gauge the chances of success in any political campaign.
Hutchinson has a reputation as a hard worker, is always prepared for City Commission meetings, and may be the most prolific among her colleagues for new ideas and proposals.
But many think Hutchinson’s front runner status and apparent momentum stalled months ago when it was revealed that she had sent campaign materials from City Hall and initially lied about it.
Representative Jack Seiler might be taking the front runner status away from Hutchinson.
He is holding his first big fundraiser tomorrow, and seeing who shows up might be a good indicator of whether he is gaining the lead.
Up until now, most of the local heavyweights and campaign contributors have been signed on with Hutchinson, but if Seiler’s party is peppered with enough of those important locals, it might spell a turnaround in the race. In politics, momentum (the Big Mo!) is everything.
Seiler’s detractors say what he really wants is a big job in State Government, maybe Attorney General or even Governor, and that a stop along the way as the leader of the biggest City in Broward County might act as a nice resume padder!
Other’s say that Jack is an interloper that really lives in Wilton Manors, but that is no longer true as Seiler and his family moved into Fort Lauderdale last month.
Lawyer Steve Rossi is the bus bench and other public infrastructure advertiser guy that quietly got into the race and hasn’t made much of a stir. I don’t expect much “Big Mo” here.
And the other three that will make my prediction of seven ultimate candidates for the next Mayor of Fort Lauderdale?
And now there are four,