The defeat of one city commission incumbent in August and the near win over another in November indicate elections in Margate are not business as usual. __________
They had endorsements from colleagues and fellow politicos. They had campaign cash that only incumbents enjoy and the brand recognition afforded to those who already have served in office: incumbent commissioner, Brian Donahue, lost to front-runner, Joyce Bryan, in the August primary, while incumbent Mayor, Le Peerman, won by the seat of her pants in the November general election.
Notably, both incumbents were endorsed by fellow city commissioners and other politicians in Broward - endorsements to which voters took little notice. Both were endowed with campaign contributions from companies that do business with the city and had blessings from city labor unions, the contracts of which they vote on if re-elected.
Still, the numbers showed that the people wanted both Peerman and Donahue out of office. Bryan beat Donahue by 17 votes and survived a Supervisor of Elections recount while Caggiano lost to Peerman by a mere 195 votes, or 1.66% of a total 13,000 ballots cast. Caggiano took early voting and the polls and half of all Margate precincts.
Where Peerman did win was in the number of absentee ballots cast in her favor. Absentee ballot campaigns are said to provide candidates with between a two and four point advantage over opponents, to which the incumbent fell short, but reigned victorious nonetheless (View Certified Results).Absentee ballot strategies often generate votes candidates might not otherwise get from seniors, the disabled and deployed military personnel (among others).
“To all the people that supported me and helped me - and all the condos I manipulated. Thank you all for that,” Peerman said after being sworn into office at the November city meeting. “Friends and supporters and people who don’t like me; thank you for coming.”
Peerman’s victory speech at city hall was shallow, disingenuous and aggrandizing. She thanked opposing candidate Eddie DeCristofaro - who received 13% of the vote - for being a gentlemen during his campaign, but accused candidate, Anthony Caggiano - who took nearly 43% of the vote - of negative campaigning.
“One of the biggest things in this election for me is that negative campaigning does not work in Margate,” she said to a handful of supporters at City Hall. “Thankfully the Margate news platform didn’t work. I want to be the one to take her down platform didn’t work...”
Peerman was not specific as to what negative campaigning she referred. In highlighting her political track record in an article entitled Who Will Get Your Vote for City Commissioner? MargateNews.net pointed fiscal decisions made by Peerman which she did not dispute in writing, by phone or in public at the city meeting. We invited the mayor on two occasions during the election to submit a position paper about her past accomplishments and future plans - to no avail.
Her opponents did.
A negative campaigner herself, the endorsing of incumbent commissioners in past elections by Peerman has led to her ostracizing the candidates (citizens) who oppose her endorsements. She has admittedly mishandled the campaign signs of opponents and has publicly condemned candidates for differences of opinion in past elections. She is anything but positive on the dais and has been construed by many as infecting fellow commissioners with narrow-minded views and reckless agendas. She spoke only to herself in her victory speech, and afterwards managed to bully a fellow commissioner in a premeditated act of political mudslinging.
One big change likely sought by Margate voters this year was a heightened need for elected officials who are educated. Donahue’s GED was no match for Bryan’s Bachelor’s Degree and Peerman’s High School Diploma paled in comparison to Caggiano’s Economics degree - though she did win. Other changes include elected officials who are more fiscally in tune with contracts and budgets, along with those willing to openly discuss issues without fear of condemnation or sarcasm - social behaviors to which Peerman has cornered the market.
The outgoing mayor did speak positively to one thing in her victory speech. There are people who don’t like her, as evidenced by election results.
“I understand the more people voted against me than voted for me. That happens in elections. What I promise you is I will go out and try to find those people and let them know who I am and give them the opportunity to get to know me as a commissioner,” Peerman said.