Voters in Broward County Commission districts 7 and 9 will elect new representatives on Aug. 26.

The candidates include seasoned veterans and determined upstarts. Campaigning has been fierce in both districts.

The districts, which include many of the county’s black residents, have similar issues. The winner of the primaries will be expected to address poverty, redevelopment and a growing mortgage crisis.

The race for the District 7 seat is headlined by incumbent John Rodstrom, Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Carlton Moore and Davie Councilman Bryan Caletka.

Robert McKinzie is the dark horse of the pack, but has experience campaigning in the district.

Rodstrom has been a vocal advocate for District 7, most notably in fighting against the effort to narrow Sistrunk Boulevard, an effort advocated by Moore.

Rodstrom’s critics say he has not done enough to build consensus on the commission, thereby hampering the commission’s effectiveness. The sitting commissioner’s strongest advantage is his campaign fundraising machine. Rodstrom had raised $196,018.31 as of his last campaign report.
Caletka has raised a respectable $89,104.

Moore has raised about $69,000, and McKinzie’s fundraising lags behind his competitors, according to The Miami Herald.

In a campaign video posted on his website, Moore said, “I would like to find a way for individuals’ desires to be accomplished by government.”
Moore is almost like an incumbent. His tenure on the dais of the city of Fort Lauderdale has garnered him just as much, if not more, name recognition than Rodstrom.

In 2000, Moore also ran unsuccessfully against County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion Jr. in District 9.

Moore’s District 7 campaign is focused on maximizing the district’s two main economic engines.

“Broward County government must be the engine that allows economic opportunity to take place for its residents. In order to do that, we have to concentrate on our strengths. Our strengths are the airport and seaport,” Moore said.

Caletka’s campaign focuses on fiscal responsibility as its primary selling point. Caletka, a school teacher, says that he is the only candidate who has never voted to increase taxes. He is telling voters that he was against the expansion of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, and that he wants to do more to punish what he calls “dirty developers.”

McKinzie, a business owner and general contractor, ran against Rodstrom in 2004. His campaign platform is reducing wasteful spending in county government. McKinzie has raised the least amount of money in the group, but has shown that he knows the district and can turn out voters.

“We need to get a firm hold on our General Fund, which is supported with property taxes. This is the area that is hurting the county the most; it funds programs and services that are not self-supporting. I don't think we can increase spending until we come up with new ways of doing business,” McKinzie said.

Rodstrom has received the recommendation of the SunSentinel and The Miami Herald.

McKinzie had a strong showing against Rodstrom in 2004; Caletka hopes to pull votes from the South Broward section of the district.

The District 9 race has many of the same variables as District 7. Eggelletion is the incumbent, and is contending for the seat against three up and comers.

Eggelletion has raised $253,865 in efforts to maintain his spot on the dais. Dale Holness, a city commissioner in Lauderhill, has raised $35,190. Many of his contributors originate from his strong support base in Lauderhill.

Allen Jackson of Pompano Beach is making his second run at the seat, and Lauderdale Lakes City Commissioner John Billingsley Jr. rounds out the field.

Jackson, a community policing specialist, is making another run at the seat, and his campaign is directly challenging the incumbent.

In recent mailings to Lauderhill voters, Jackson included an article from the New Times written by Bob Norman which chronicles Eggelletion’s efforts to keep his extramarital affair with Angelita Sanders out of Jackson’s campaign literature.

Despite the tough tactics, Eggelletion, who is also recommended by The Miami Herald and the SunSentinel, is the frontrunner. He has outspent all of his challengers.  In order to upset the incumbent, Holness, Jackson and Billingsley will have to turn out their respective vote in big numbers.