It was billed as a Labor Day picnic but the only laboring that took place was an effort by Democratic leaders to blunt the impact that Republicans Jennifer Carroll and Allen West could have on the fall elections.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott tapped Carroll, a state representative from Fleming Island near Jacksonville and a widely respected business owner, as his running mate.
West handily defeated his party opponent David Brady in the primary for the U.S. House District 22 seat.
Mitch Ceasar, chairman of the Democratic Party of Broward County, described Carroll’s selection for lieutenant governor as “certainly an intriguing choice,” adding, “I commend Rick Scott.”
But Ceasar said Carroll would have no bearing on Democrat Alex Sink’s run for governor.
“I don’t think she’s necessarily going to resonate, because she has to support his extreme behavior, his extreme beliefs and, frankly, we don’t think that’s going to resonate in the white community or the minority communities either.”
But Ceasar used less polite language to describe West, who is emerging as a formidable African American opponent to U.S. Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, for the District 22 seat.
“I’ve always believed that there’s nothing more to be concerned about except somebody really crazy running and, in his case, not only crazy but have a lot of money – and that’s a bad combination,” Ceasar said.
“He’s very, very, very extreme. He’d have nothing in common with any of the communities, whether minority or majority communities, in the state or in that congressional district.”
Asked for a response West’scampaign manager Josh Grodin said Ceasar’s comment was “purely racially motivated.”
Klein steered away from attacking West, choosing, instead, to call attention to economic prosperity during the Bill Clinton presidency.
“We know what it was like in the 1990s with Clinton. Millions of jobs [were] created. Lots of things happened. But we can do it again,” Klein shouted to the gathering. “We can do it. Labor Day is a day that’s a reflection of working families. We have to rededicate ourselves in the public and private sector to make sure that every single person who wants a job has a job in our local community – a good quality job.”
The North Broward Democratic Club sponsors the annual Labor Day Picnic, held in Pompano Beach. Klein was the heavyweight among a steady stream of Democratic candidates briefly addressed the crowd of party leaders, grassroots workers and other supporters.
Incumbent state Rep. Gwyndolen “Gwyn” Clarke-Reed, of District 92, who faces a write-in candidate on the November ballot, said candidates should not take any segment of the community for granted.
“They need to show up in all parts of Broward County,” she said.
She called on Democrats to send Klein and U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, back to Washington.
Clarke-Reed’s district, which includes portions of North Broward, also encompasses parts of both Hastings’ and Klein’s districts spanning sections of Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Ken Evans, an area leader for the Democratic Party, said the day was all about rallying the party in a fun way.
Photo: Jennifer Carroll