BY BUDDY NEVINS
One of the golden rules of politics is that consultants can run other candidate’s campaigns.
But they should not run their own campaigns.
The latest evidence is Michael Ahearn, a well-known consultant mostly handling judicial candidates. He got smoked in Tuesday’s primary running for judge.
Ahearn received 20.15 percent of the Broward County Court, Group 15 vote.
Chris Brown led the field with 42.15 percent followed by Suzette Hyde at 37.75 percent.
The resounding rejection of Ahearn reminds me of 1984 and Anthony “Tony G” Garguilo.
Garguilo was former New York City policeman who became a key member of the political machine of Ed Stack, a former sheriff and congressman.
Tony G’s many contacts compiled while running Stack’s Broward office was expected to help. It didn’t.
When Tony G ran for Supervisor of Elections, he was beaten by incumbent Supervisor Jane Carroll – 69 percent to 31 percent.
After Tony G lost, it was said that his political consultant business would collapse. The theory was that if Tony G couldn’t win his own race, how can he help other candidates win?
Consultant and candidate are different skills.
Candidates, many who have huge egos, often can’t look at themselves honestly.
They need someone to tell them they can’t write and that somebody else needs to write their brochures. They need somebody to tell them they are talking to strangers all wrong. They even need somebody to tell them how to pose in a picture and how to dress.
A good consultant will tell a candidate how to be most effective. A good consultant will tell the candidate the truth however painful that truth is.
The history of Tony G proved there is life after defeat for consultants.
Tony G went on to elect many judicial candidates, earning the nickname “The Judge Maker.” He routinely received a $25,000 retainer 30 or 40 years ago.
So expect Ahearn to be around political circles in the future.
THE TOOTHLESS NEWSPAPER
If anyone needs more evidence that the Sun-Sentinel’s editorial page is a paper tiger (pun intended), one only needs to look at Tuesday’s election.
After editorials calling for School Board member Donna Korn’s defeat, she actually ran first in her race.
First despite a negative Grand Jury report days before the election flatly stating she should be removed from office.
Korn received 30.55 percent against the much better-funded Allen Zeman’s 29.87 percent.
Zeman spent more than $200,000, much of it his own. Korn spent one-fourth of that.
They head to a November runoff.
MONEY LOSING PROPOSITION
How would you like to spend more than $500,000 and get nothing for it?
You could ask former County Commissioner Barbara Sharief today.
She loaned her campaign $630,000 as of last week. She was defeated by State Sen. Lauren Book, who used none of her own money in her campaign.
Book won — 60.33 percent to 39.67 percent.
Both campaigns had PACs helping them so their own spending is not totally reflective of the race.
For future candidates keeping score, among those helping on the Sharief campaign was Broward-based consultant Amy Rose. The Book team counted on consultant Michael Worley and his team including Jewish outreach specialist Andrew Dolberg.
Jeff Holness is an extreme example of political persistence.
He ran three times for Plantation Council (2011,2013 and 2015) and lost. He ran for Sunrise Commission (2018) and lost. He was defeated in 2020 for the School Board.
But Tuesday, Holness came in first for the School Board seat District 5 in West-Central Broward.
Holness is not elected yet. He has a November runoff with second-place Ruth Carter-Lynch.
Holness received 30.78 percent against Carter-Lynch’s 23.81 percent.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.