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Nancy Smith

Buddy Dyer, Maurice Ferre, Heroes; Susan Bucher from Hanging Chad Heaven, Zero

October 24, 2010 - 6:00pm

This Weeks Heroes: Maurice Ferre and Buddy Dyer

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre, both Democrats, showed rare courage among today's career politicians, breaking ranks with their party last week to support Republicans they believe will be better for Florida than the Democratic nominees.

Dyer sent out a ringing endorsement of Rep. Dean Cannon in state House District 35, ignoring Amy Mercado, the Dem pushing hard for Cannons seat.

In the mailer he said the designated incoming House speaker has displayed consistently superior leadership. He also cited Cannons track record of success, outstanding leadership ability and strength of character.

As loyal a Democrat as he is, Dyer nevertheless feels a kinship toward Cannon, who helped get SunRail his pet transportation project passed in the House. It still took a lot of guts for him to bite the hand that feeds him.

Meanwhile, Maurice Ferre, who says in 54 years he has never voted for a Republican, claims he will for Rick Scott on Nov. 2. In fact, the six-term Miami mayor is publicly endorsing Scott over Alex Sink in the gubernatorial race.

These are not times for the constraint of timid political souls, said Ferre, who ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. We need the audacity and boldness that was promised in 2008 to create jobs and pull us out of this economic ditch. In 2010 it is Rick Scott who offers Floridians that audacity.

My support for Scott for governor outweighs all other considerations. Florida needs a sound economy and Floridians need jobs and economic prosperity. Those are Rick Scotts strengths.

From time to time Ferre and Dyer have both been the object of patronizing and dismissive commentary. And no doubt theyll do something to deserve it some other week. For right now, theyve shown they're prepared to live the courage of their convictions. For speaking out boldly, from the heart, they are my heroes.

This Weeks Zero: Susan Bucher

Continuing in the proud tradition of Theresa Madame Butterfly LePore in 2000, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher made sure her county gets to keep its dubious title.

(Drum roll, please )

Palm Beach is officially still the Banana Republic of the American Election Season.

Ten years, three different elections supervisors, and now a fifth fouled-up election cycle.

Way to go, girl.

According to reports from the Florida Division of Elections, of all 67 counties, Palm Beach is absolute, bottom-of-the-barrel, dead-last in processing its 2010 absentee ballots.

The reports show Buchers office has accounted for just 14.55 percent of the domestic absentee ballots and only 10.48 percent of the military/overseas and non-Florida ballots.

That compares to a statewide average of 33.56 percent and 29.21 percent.

Look at Pinellas County. Thats a big county. Pinellas has recorded 31.9 percent of its state-leading 240,906 domestic absentee ballots. Even Miami-Dade, another hotbed of ballot-counting problems 10 years ago, is streets ahead of Palm Beach with a 30.5 percent rate.

Pinellas and Miami-Dade mailed significantly more than Palm Beachs 61,720 in-state ballots, too.

Whats the deal here? Are elections office staffers not going to the mailbox regularly? Are they failing to scan the ballot envelopes?

Or, could liberal Democrat Bucher a state representative who term-limited out of the House in 2008 be reacting deliberately slowly, refusing to upload absentee data to the state to hurt candidates she doesnt want to see elected?

No way, Bucher told Sunshine State News. Were up to date.

Ah, then, if the elections supervisor is to be believed, it isnt manipulation, its incompetence.

As far as we know, Bucher hasnt done what Madame Butterflys successor, Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson, did in 2006 leave a race off the ballot.

But theres still time to really embarrass Palm Beach County again.

Where theres a will, theres a way. After all, this is Hanging Chad Heaven just down the road from Trailer Town were talking about. Git er done, Suse.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at (850) 727-0859.

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