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Nancy Smith

Belinda Keiser: What Makes this Former Democrat Carpetbag North to the Treasure Coast?

May 9, 2018 - 6:00am
Belinda and Arthur Keiser
Belinda and Arthur Keiser

Carpetbagger candidates leave me cold. You know the ones I mean. The politicians who move to a jurisdiction they've never lived in before for the express purpose of running for office.

The Treasure Coast has seen a bunch of them. In Martin and St. Lucie counties anyway, they've generally been well-endowed congressional carpetbaggers -- Patrick Murphy, Allen West, Randy Perkins, Brian Mast, as recent examples -- bound for Washington. Residents are used to them and they've warmed to them. 

What Treasure Coasters are not used to, though, is the carpetbagger for state office.

These are the ones you watch like a hawk. Candidates who know when to switch parties, who to give their money to so they can get the kind of appointments that feather their political nests ... candidates who, for instance, think they can carpetbag from liberal Broward County into a cautious, fiscally conservative region like the Treasure Coast. These are "unscrupulous opportunists," just as the dictionary describes carpetbaggers.

I Beg to DifferThat's how I see Belinda Keiser. 

Keiser is in the primary race against Rep. Gayle Harrell for the District 25 state Senate seat. Harrell has lived in the district for 46 years.

Keiser is the vice chancellor of community relations and student advancement for Keiser University, Keiser Career College, Everglades University, and the Southeastern Institutes. These institutions are comprised of 25 campuses located throughout Florida and the southeastern United States with approximately 15,000 students and 2,400 employees.

Can we assume it isn't the annual $30,000-a-year Senate salary that attracts her?

Keiser's husband Arthur is the university's namesake.

She tells people she's lived in Broward County for 27 years -- Parkland, according to some documents, Fort Lauderdale, according to others. 

Nowhere does it say Keiser ever lived in any village, town or city in District 25, 80 miles north and light years away in cultural differences.

The address she gives on current filings is the Port St. Lucie campus of Keiser University, in the Tradition neighborhood.

As a generous political donor (her husband's largesse adds to the gifts for a two-fer), she was appointed a Florida delegate-at-large for the last Republican National Convention. Gov. Rick Scott appointed her to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. She's on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and she's been busy with the Florida Council of 100, the Florida Government Efficiency Task Force and Workforce Florida, which she chaired. Oh, yes, and Scott named her to the board of Enterprise Florida and Space Florida.

She is a FORM 1 filer because of the three boards she’s on. FORM 1 does not require disclosure of income or asset values.

What you won't find on any resume is any mention of party history. That's because Keiser used to be a Democrat.

In 2000, with her address listed as 1500 NW 49th Street in Fort Lauderdale, she ran as a Democrat for the District 90 state House seat. She was defeated.

After which ... through the first decade of the 21st Century and beyond, she gave tens of thousands of dollars to such liberal Democrats as Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bill Nelson, Charlie Crist, Alcee Hastings, Barbara Boxer, Peter Deutsch, Robert Wexler and the Democratic Executive Committee of Florida, to name just a few. Search her name on this website, and her husband's name.

Apparently, she could just abandon those principles in the blink of an eye and convert to Republican. Not just Republican, but generous Republican.

The point is, I'm sure she and Arthur have given until it hurts to put her in a position to win this state Senate seat two counties north of home. Think of it, what a great business move from their point of view. It could lead to all sorts of big things for the Keisers.

But it's the constituents of the Treasure Coast I'm thinking about. They're going to ask, "What about us?" And rightfully. Who is Belinda Keiser and what's in that carpetbag?

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


From the above, I determine that we can't vote for either of these scoundrels. Now what? Either one is a loser.

Arthur Keiser is a criminal who has been sued several times. This is a family of crooks who mistreat employees and students. I believe they bribe those who prosecute them so they could come out clean. They should be jailed asap.

Arthur Keiser is a criminal who has been sued several times. This is a family of crooks who mistreat employees and students. I believe they bribe those who prosecute them so they could come out clean. They should be jailed asap.

Arthur Keiser is a criminal who has been sued several times. This is a family of crooks who mistreat employees and students. I believe they bribe those who prosecute them so they could come out clean. They should be jailed asap.

Are you talking about Trump?

We need a hard-core republican to step up to the plate and dump these Rinos.

For all the Politicians against Medicaid expansion.....guess what.....poor people vote too!

As an employee of Mrs. Keiser I can assure you of the unscrupulous practices at this "fake" university. Financial aid rip-offs, nepotism, low employee morale, and an absolute disregard for students and employees. Mrs. Keiser is considered to be " a nut job" throughout the university system; an uncontrollable temper and a bully. When she was appointed to the constitutional revision committee she asked around the campuses for a professor to bring her up to speed as she didn't know about Florida's constitution! Is this what we want in office?

Both candidates sound horrible! One is a lifetime politician and the other a someone who wants to purchase a seat of power. However, the bigger question is why the author chooses to publish never Trumper, George Will’s column...

Funny as you write this about how wrong it is for people from the south to come north how about the people in the district that have switch parties to benefit themselves that is also OK. A little birdy told me that the Martin County REC chair once held a fund raiser for Randy Perkins? Yes that is right now he is running for State rep district 83 as a republican so is that right? It is OK to switch parties just to better your own agenda?

Ok Nancy, you don't like carpetbaggers? Then why support Rick Scott? He's just that. Hasn't he been Governor longer than he was a Floridian before running? He moved to Florida in order to buy an election and he did. Over $150 million to be elected and reelected. And yet his wealth has grown greatly. Balderdash! You only dislike Dem carpetbaggers. Well, I dislike them all.

Wolves in sheeps clothing abound! Why did so many “conservative” “A” rated NRA FL reps vote against our gun rights? The fix is in. When RPOF is working diligently to help X-felons vote and remaining silent on voter fraud, who can trust them? Do your homework folks before you vote! I am a Republican who did not vote for any gubernatorial candidate last election, and I have been vindicated many times over. Scott has sold us out to the lowest bidder. The Chamber of Commerce can take their jobs and shove it! California May soon look more conservative than Florida.

This story is good as far as it goes, Ms. Smith, but you need to investigate Keiser University. This isn't a true university it is a high priced diploma mill that should be shut down. I will call you and give you more details.

Keiser University is a wonderful University and for the commit above, sounds like they have issue of stupidity !! Keiser University supports the State of Florida more then any other big corporation around. they keep this state economy going.

Funny, you call someone else's comment stupid, but yet, you can not form a a grammatically correct sentence. Did you get your degree from keiser?

Gayle Harrell doesn't keep her word. She lied to NRA. She only says she supports the Second Amendment and has voted against Second Amendment rights numerous times while claiming to support gun owners constitutional rights. I rather have a "carpet bagger" than someone who lies to get your support them sticks it to you when it suits her personal agenda. She voted against gun owners to get leadership support for her run for the Senate. I'll be voting with NRA and I doubt it will be for Gayle "Untrustworthy" Harrell.

Educate yourselves to the carpetbagger strategy! Just another politician trying to line their pocket with money! Gayle Harrell was practicing fiscal responsibility by voting against Medicaid increases! Close the Medicaid loopholes! My vote is for gayle Harrell

Gayle Harrell is NOT a leader but a follower. If she brings her past actions to the Senate all she will be is a supporter for every other persons bill and do nothing to bring $$$ into our communities. She is part of a state House that year after year does not finish their work and force the taxpayers to pay for special sessions. She voted against and help defeat a very well written bill by the Senate that would have brought BILLIONS of federal dollars for Medicaid into our state. Imagine all the jobs that could have been created. Also image all the tax dolkars we could have saved at a 90/10 federal state split rather then the 60/40 we do now! Plus the ladies about to fall over and croak by the end of the term! Lets get some new blood into the swamp of the florida legislature and get rid of the dead weight thats been sinking taxpayers for over a decade.

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nancy smith

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