Don’t Write Off Ellyn Bogdanoff Just Yet

Bogdanoff has won Democratic votes before


The initial reaction in southeast Florida Saturday to the new Senate map was centered around Ellyn Bogdanoff’s political future. One of the rising stars in the state GOP, Bogdanoff has been a prolific vote getter since her first race in a 1998 special election versus Steve Geller in a heavily Democratic State Senate seat. Against the backdrop of the racially charged ouster of Willie Logan as Democratic leader designee, Bogdanoff courted and received significant support from registered Democrats including winning a majority of African-American votes cast. Geller won 58%-42%, but Bogdanoff had outperformed every Republican candidate running for a legislative seat in that particular area since the early 1970s.

With a moderate reputation and plenty of activist allies in heavily Democratic Broward County, high hopes surrounded Bogdanoff’s move to the State House in a 2004 special election after Connie Mack Jr. resigned to run for Congress on the west coast. As the only Broward County based Republican in the Legislative delegation, all eyes were on how she would perform and what type of voting record she would compile.

In that special election, Bogdanoff had again been seen as a moderate Republican after coming through a seven way primary against more conservative candidates.  She was the heir apparent to the budding tradition of centrist Republicanism that features along the Broward and Palm Beach County coasts.  Between her 1998 defeat and 2004 victory, Bogdanoff had compiled a greater Rolodex, so to speak, of potential supporters and contributors while maintaining a decent rapport with issue activists, particularly those concerned about public schools in Broward County.

In the legislature, however, Bogdanoff was a disappointment to many of those who had supported her in the past. She became an instant supporter of Jeb Bush’s education and social agenda, clashed with moderate Governor Charlie Crist and has been a strong supporter of most right wing ideas that have made its way to the floor of the House or Senate since 2004. For obvious reasons, Bogdanoff was fast tracked into the GOP leadership and has been mentioned in some circles as a potential statewide or congressional candidate.

Those possibilities still exist, as does the opportunity for Bogdanoff, who is an excellent retail campaigner and impressive in person, to woo Democratic voters in the redrawn Democratic leaning Senate District 32. Incumbent Democratic Senator Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach) is facing a potential primary from former State Rep. Kevin Rader. Much of the Broward County territory in the district would be new to Sachs, but in a twist of irony, Rader ran in that territory before in 2000 as the Democratic nominee in then House District 91 vs Rep. Connie Mack. But ultimately the condominium areas of southern Palm Beach county in the new district will be a tough mountain for Bogdanoff or any Republican to climb for victory.

Bogdanoff is by no means the favorite in the redrawn district but if any Republican can win there it is her. As a longtime observer of politics in southeast Florida, I have seen her buck the odds before and wouldn’t be shocked if Bogdanoff found a way to do it again.

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14 thoughts on “Don’t Write Off Ellyn Bogdanoff Just Yet

  1. She is horrible. The only thing worse than a right winger is a conservative who talked moderate her entire career until leadership was thrown in her face.

    I must give the author credit. I had forgotten all about her previous elections and how far to the middle or even the left she ran. Her advocacy in Broward was tied to a group of activists claiming everything was spent on the western part if the county. Recall that? It made her very popular with Dems even in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano.

  2. I agree with the tenor of this blog and must say Maria Sachs need be concerned. She has been an unreliable Democrat at best and with rising superstar Joe Abruzzo running in the new west Pbc district while Rader challenging her and now drawn in with Ellyn, she has potential problems.

  3. These candidates positioning publicly are fools. As this site yesterday these districts are still questionable and this could be thrown out again. All the Dems making public statements are putting themselves in bad positions.

  4. I don’t understand all of these analyses that state that Sachs is now in the same district as Bogdanoff. She moved from Delray Beach it appears and lives west of the Turnpike, which puts her in the newly drawn 27, not this district.

  5. Whatever the case Sachs will be running in an unfamiliar district and is very vulnerable. Both 27 and 32 take in new territories. Her current district is split between 3 new districts. It does not matter where she lives.

  6. Both Bogdonoff and Sachs are bad news. Republican and Republican lite. I hope Kevin Rader runs and wins the primary. He is a real Democrat. Abruzzo has a great future as well and should run for Senate.

  7. Very true but I think the point is her existing district has been carved up 3 ways which IMO is very unfair. The current district maintains a community of interest. The new districts link coastal communities and condos or farm areas, single family areas and condos.
    The court defines communities of interest, not me but I see problems with the new districts personally.

  8. Ellyn is a fighter and a survivor. She will find a way to stay even if it means moving left quickly. Or she will run for congress. The district performs Democrat but that means nothing.

  9. The jockeying will be incredible. Sachs district was carved up and the fact of the new plan is that it is entirely possible Palm Beach County will lose a resident senator. That is despite robust growth and more house districts that are based in the county than ever in the new plan.

    I do not think the Senate wants another map thrown out but they are certainly risking it with this latest effort.

  10. The FDP has actually released a statement that this district is a GOP gerrymander. So Sachs may in fact be screwed and Bogdanoff possibly protected. It is tough to draw a straight GOP Senate district in Broward/Palm Beach since the counties are overwhelmingly D, and a D may still win this seat but they have done their best to protect her.

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