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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Developments in the Governor's Race

The last few days have been active on the Democratic Primary side of the 2006 Florida Governor's Race. Yesterday, the Miami Herald reported that Scott Maddox has severed ties with his lead fundraiser, Miami based Kory Mitchell. On Monday the Herald reported that Rod Smith has been questioned over a prosecution relating to a 1999 case while Smith was State Attorney. Also on Monday, Palm Beach County commissioner Burt Aaronson who had previously raised money for Scott Maddox indicated to the Palm Beach Post's George Bennett, that he was in fact neutral in the Governor's race. Considering Maddox's 2nd Quarter Campign Finance Report is littered with contributions from individuals from South Palm Beach County associated with Aaronson, is it really possible that Aaronson has backed off of Maddox because of the poor publicity Maddox has recently received? Perhaps, but it is important to note that many of the contributions from South Palm Beach county were recieved AFTER the first negative stories about Scott Maddox surfaced in the statewide press.


Anonymous said...

More trouble for Maddox, big surprise!

Anonymous said...

Burt Aaronson is the leader of Palm Beach County Democrats.

Without his support, Maddox is dead in the county.

egcanes said...

Aaronson is a legend in his own mind. Wasn't he supposed to be indicted?

Jill said...

The allegations against Smith have been cleared up and the story is now dead.

As far as Kory Mitchell is concerned, Maddox had a major lapse of judgement when hiring him. Kory is known as a cocky kid who took the state by storm in the Kerry campaign but one who overvalues his services and who from what I have been told does not satisfy his clients. I worked with Kory during the late stages of the Kerry Campaign, and like him personally, but would never hire him to raise me money.

Lou said...

I have heard that Burt Aaronson is a pompous fool from my friends in South Florida. Any candidate he backs my friends say that they will oppose.

Jeff said...

Kory Mitchell fleeced our campaign of lots of cash. He had failed to live up to his end of the bargain: to raise soft dollars and party building money for the Leon DEc at the same time as helping Maddox raise hard dollars. Scott raised most of his money from his own connections through his own fundraising apparatus. My understanding is that Mitchell Devlopment was costing the Campaign a fortune and that we were losing our ability to reach out to important donors because the fundraising infrastructure put in place by Mitchell was not sufficient for our campaign.

On another note, Kartik you just love to slander Commisioner Aaronson, don't you. you're slanderous libeliuos 527 attack campaign against the leader of Palm Beach Democrats last year has not gone unnoticed around the state. You are viewed as a person with a dangerous personal vendetta against Aaronson. You should just be thankful he hasn't sued you.

Jeff said...

Let me point out I do not work for Maddox, but I support him. when I say "our campaign" it is because I am a strong supporter of Scott Maddox.

Anonymous said...

"Kory Mitchell fleeced our campaign of lots of cash."

Jeff, you just love to slander Kory Mitchell, don't you.

You should just be thankful he hasn't sued you.

Tim L said...

From what I have been told Kory Mitchell is egotistical just like Scott Maddox. It's amazing it didn't work out!

Clarence said...

Typical Maddox... he decides to fire the fundraiser he personally chose to head the campaign after allowing the fundraiser to fleece the camapign account for $45K.

Just the kind of guy we need in the Governor's mansion with the power to appoint Department directors.

So first Debbie Griffin Button - the comptroller is incompetent and forced to resign and now Kory Mitchell - the fundraiser is fired for overcharging the campaign.

Maddox hired (and fired) both of these folks... when do the excuses end?

tom andrews said...

Kory Mitchell's poor level of service and failure to deliver any meaningful contributions for Maddox led to his firing. Mayor Maddox deserves better. He has given his time and effort to try and improve the party's status in Florida and he did not expect to be fleeced by a consultant just looking to make a buck.

In the last few months, Mitchell has been fired by Maddox, Kendrick Meek and by several other entities that had retained Mr. Mitchell as its fundraiser.

Thankfully Scott Maddox has taken out the trash in his campaign and is moving on to better more loyal staff.

Kartik said...

Kory Mitchell quit the campaign from what I have been told. Can you blame him? Maddox is sinking ship, and as a fundraiser it must be difficult to raise money for him.

Now, Jeff please understand that in this business you are entitled to work for or against candidates for whom you may disagree with. I will have a longer response for you later.

Anonymous said...

I understand though that Mitchell had charged way too much money to Maddox, and wasn't delivering. That's why he was fired.

Anonymous said...

I understand though that Mitchell had charged way too much money to Maddox, and wasn't delivering. That's why he was fired.

Kartik said...

You are talking about lawsuits on me -- that's laughable. It's shameful that in a democratic society where government is founded by competing ideas and candidates that you believe that Burt Aaronson is exempt from that process. Should Aaronson be our nation's first king? -- is he the first politician who should not be allowed to have one compete against him or any of his chosen candidates and if they do they should not be able to earn a living and be run out of town as some sort of traitor? It's silly and scary at the same time. I have nothing against Burt Aaronson personally and I agree with a lot of his politics. However, I do have something with his behavior towards me and anyone else that he perceives has threatened his political kingdom. Just last week Aaronson told people that I would never work in Palm Beach County again because of what I had done to him. Every other public official in this nation is accountable for their record as a public official except for Burt Aaronson, it seems. Everything the 527 I worked with hit Aaronson with was cleared by prominent election law attorney and was documented from news sources. I am not after Aaronson' kingdom or a threat to his power in Palm Beach. I am just trying to make a living by working for good candidates who share my ideals, and treat people with respect, whether they agree or disagree with them. Do you and Aaronson have a right to disagree with my choices -- surely! But do you have the right to malign my character based on them – no you don’t!

I apologize that I worked against Aaronson. Nobody ever told me that Palm Beach County is dicatatorship owned by Burt Aaronson and if anyone ever conflicts wiuth him that they should be banished from it. It's amazing that Aaronson takes the philosphy the French monarchs had for years which is contrary to the ideals of American Republicanism since he was so quick to bash France all over the national airwaves just two years ago, to show his solidarity with George W. Bush's policies regarding the Iraq war.

jackofall said...

the cowards who attack anyone anonomously are just that, cowards. you are probably also direct competitors looking to trash someone elses reputation to further their own business. pathetic. can't stand on your own merits "tom andrews:? more power to you but what comes around goes around.

jackofall said...

come to think of it - since it's probably the same person assuming all these identities and trashing their fundraising competitor maybe we could start a contest where we try to guess who this anonymous coward is...any guesses? let's name names : )

Anonymous said...

If Kory Mitchell was worth anythinghe would not have been fired by all these campaigns.

Jeff said...


Do people realize how much you cost the Democratic Party by your attacks on Aaronson? Despite all this nonsense on your website about the Democrats and how much you cxare about the party, anybody who is a Democrat who would personally attack in a negative and below the belt way one of the most important Democrats in the state needs to be exposed and taken to task. That is what I will do to you.

Burt Aaronson probably controls more votes for Democrats than any other elected official in the state. He also raises more money for fellow Democrats than most other Democrats. In South Palm Beach county there are 50,000 Democrats who take a que from Aaronson on who to support.

Because of your 527 and the 8 attack mail pieces you and your allies did against him which prevented him from helping the other Democrats including John Kerry and Betty Castorwho narrowly lost thanks in large measure to you, because you undermined Aaronson's ability to help them.

I do believe you made up half the claims you made in his mail pieces. You deserve the blame that Aaronson has assigned to you for hurting his reputation: Aaronson as his re-election numbers prove is beloved in his community and you stand alone in opposing him.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeff - can i have some of what you are smoking? you sound like the biggest moron. are you really advocating that any one person should or could "control" votes? how little must you know about campaigns and elections to contend such a thing?

Jeff said...

Yes, Aaronson does control votes. He and the Democratic Clubs in South Palm Beach County control upwards of 50,000 votes. One of the leaders, Andre' Fladell is still a big Maddox supporter which flies directly in the face of the media reports we have read that Aaronson's group has backed off Maddox.

Maddox is very strong still in south Florida. As for Kartik's attacks on Burt Aaronson, if you like George W. Bush and Mel Martinez thank the author of this blogsite. If you don't like them, realize Burt Aaronson is a good democrat and a great leader for our party.

Anonymous said...

Jeff - you've got to be on the aaronson payroll. You are too funny.

Joe said...

Aaronson is the leader of the Palm Beach County Democrats and he does control many many votes. He is sort of like an old machine bos from up north. His control of the party down there has effectively killed the party from growing and is the real reason why Palm Beach Democrats are a sick joke.

The leadership in the county cow tows to Aaronson and his other associates and since Aaronson does not allow dissent on anything, everybody follows his bad decisions in lock step. The only people permited in the party in that county are loyalists to Aaronson personally and thus I agree with what Kartik did. I believe all Kartik was doing was advocating that Aaronson was not a real Democrat because of his close ties to sugar and development interests. I saw some of the mail pieces and thought they were witty and humorous.

Clarence said...


Wake up, will ya!

Your asinine comments prove how little you about the real workings in your campaign. Andre Fladell will tell anyone who asks that Maddox is dead and I'm sure one of the number one reasons why Aaronson pulled the plug on his previous endorsement of Maddox, to Scott's continuing and unending embarrasament.

and please don't ever threaten Kartik again. your posts here are being sent to the authorities.

TJL said...

The issue of Kory Mitchell is complicated. Evidently he refused to take a pay cut even though the campaign was hurting. Shared sacrifice is a Democratic Party virtue and Mitchell lacks it.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that Aaronson takes the philosphy the French monarchs had for years which is contrary to the ideals of American Republicanism since he was so quick to bash France all over the national airwaves just two years ago, to show his solidarity with George W. Bush's policies regarding the Iraq war.

What are you talking about, Kartik? Aaronson never advocated a France boycott or the Iraq war as you claim. That was a National issue which the County didn't deal with. What are you smoking?

beth said...

This is too funny. Wasn't Aaronson on the national news advocating this boycott of France? Anyone want ketchup with their freedom fries?

Anonymous said...

Kartik- you are wrong in claiming Aaronson raised money after the Maddox story broke. Aaronson claerly stated that he raised money for him before that date but backed off of him afterwards.

MaddoxforCFO said...

Guys, it's over for Scott. Get over it!

matt mattingly said...


Boy you really worship Aaronson don't you? I guess your point is that he should be immune based on what you are saying from any Democratic primary opposition. Maybe you should send a submission to the Department of State complaining that Aaronson shold not be subjugated to the same election process that everyone else does. I mean Aaronson is all right but he isn't the god like hero you make him out to be -- he's big time pro-development tied to lots of special interests. You make him out to be our modern day George Washington. He seems to be a polarizing figure who is both liked and disliked by a lot of people. His detractors call his style abrasive and is about bully tactics -- I guess you are trying to make your hero proud by bullying Kartik but gosh get a life. I like politics too but does any politician really deserved to be worshipped to your degree?

matt mattingly said...

I've worked with Kory Mitchell and I think he's a fine fundrasier. We don't know all the details here so I think its folly to pass judgment. As to the posts blasting Kory -- yeah its clear that its a competitor. Heck its a nasty business its par for the course for competitors to pounce when they smell blood in the water. I disagree with it but don't fault the criticism -- it's seems that's just politics. I don't know one consultant worthwhile that doesn't have someone saying that they suck but you always got to consider the source.

matt mattingly said...

as to the post denying that Aaronson ever spoke about boycotting France since its a national issue, etc -- where have you been? Clearly you don't watch cable much -- Aaronson was all over it getting his national 15 minutes of fame more or less by criticizing France for their lack of solidarity on the Iraq War. He even hyped the idea that he wanted to change the word French frees to Freedom frees. Yeah, it does seem a bit absurd for a county commissioner to take a national stand -- but yes he did just that. You are more or less challanging Kartik by saying that Aaronson would never do something that you feel would be absurd. Well, he did. And apparently you are one of the few political people that apparently weren't paying much attention to the national media during the early period of the Iraq War. That's cool to each their own but go do a google search and you'll discover this stuff for yourself.

Anonymous said...

The only fact that counts here is that Mayor Maddox had the good sense and made the tough, but responsible, decisions to fire the two campaign employees that were directly responsible for harming his campaign:

Kory Mitchell & Debbie Griffin-Bruton.

While undoubtably, good people, these two individuals were lightning rods for the campaign and unecessary distractions from the overall message of Maddox for Florida.

It's never easy to fire staff and rather than criticize Mayor Maddox for inaction, we should praise his good judgement and leadership skills for knowing when to make the tough calls that allowed his campaign to move forward.

Maddox for Florida. for Governor.

Jeff said...

Matt Mattingly,

Do you not dispute that Aaronson is one of the most important democrats in the state and the efforts of Kartik to undermine him ulimatily hurts the party? Le'ts put it this way: If Charlie Crist were hit with 8 negative slanderous mail pieces arriving day after day and being reported on in the newspapers don't you think the GOP would take a hit?

As far as Kory Mitchell the attacks here are from Maddox loyalists who feel Mitchell took many bucks and ran with it. He didn't work hard to raise Scott money.

DAFDB said...

I agree totally with Jeff. Had Aaronson not had to spend his money he spoke openly about giving his money to John Kerry and Betty Castor. He also could have raised much more for both candidates. What a pity, Democrats once again trying to eat their own.

matt mattingly said...


Yes, I do dispute the idea that Aaronson is one of the most important Democrats in the state, if you define important by politicians who would influence swing voters and or turnout voters whom normally wouldn't vote. If you define important in terms of egos needed to be stroked -- he seems clearly one of the big ones that needs a lot of catering to so I'd agree with you based on that take -- Aaronson is far from a saint do a google on him and you'll find material about FBI investigations, being big time in the pocket of developers, you'll find him more or less backing Bush's policy on Iraq I could go on and on. Again I don't dislike him he's all right but he doesn't stand out in my book as one of our party's standout stars or someone to look up to. If you idiolize this guy its your privlege who I am to take away your hero. However to claim that this guy should be beloved by all seems silly. Even Aaronson's friends say that the guy is one of the most vindictive politicians out there -- I don't think too many people would argue that he's the warm and fuzzy type. OK a politician with a reputation for being bossy, vindictive and cosy with special interests might not be beloved by all. I don't know why that shocks you. And the fact that he represents a liberal condo laden district doesn't mean that he's the reason why the condos are active or these tradtionally liberal voters would vote Republican if it were not for Aaronson's urgings. That seems far fetched. It's great that he gives away some of the money he raises from special interests to the Democratic party but I don't believe that it should make him everyone's hero. A lot of Dem politicians do the same & many put in a lot more then him like Peter Deutsch. Why aren't you doing tributes to Deutsch if your prime criteria involves passing off campaign contributions to the party or presidential candidates. Playing with your logic maybe Castor should have backed off running against Deutsch -- because clearly if Deutsch had no opposition he'd be donating a chunk to the party. Many politicians give their excess donations to charity -- maybe we should back off all of them too -- new rules any politician who gives money to charity and or the Democratic Party earns the right to have no opposition and how dare anyone force them to spend their campaign cash.

egcanes said...

To the outspoken Aaronson supporters on this blog. PLEASE FIND A THERAPIST AND GET A LIFE. You are clearly suffering from post-post-post election stress disorder. Your doddering old hero on the County Commission really knows how to champion key issues, doesn’t he? With all the human service needs in Palm Beach County, he claims a stupid film festival as his signature accomplishment. He must be waiting for Steamboat Willie to come back. And seriously, how pitiful is it for a 70-something man to threaten a good Dem like Kartik? What a jerkoff. Nah, make that a self important jerkoff. The face of Palm Beach County is changing and it looks nothing like Burt Aaronson. As his political base wanes, he is beginning to reveal himself to be what he truly is – an insecure asshole.

beth said...

For all of you saying Kartik was a bad Dem to do those mail pieces against Aaronson and blame him for making Aaronson work hard in a primary...remember these races:

McBride v. Reno v. Jones
Deutsch v. Castor v. Pinellas
Maddox v. Dyer
McAfee v. Miller
Levine v. Slosberg

I'm sure I'm missing some. But notice that all were primaries, and ALL his candidates in those races lost the area, and in some cases by a huge margin...Loyal to the party? Or to his own self interests?

palmbeachdave said...

While I would admit Commissioner Aaronson’s personality irks some, his influence on the Democratic politics throughout the state cannot be disputed. He is the king of Palm Beach County and while Kartik may whine about not being able to work in the county and the loss of jobs, etc he should understand that in many large areas where a dominant political figure exists if you cross that figure, especially in the open and near slanderous way he did, that you do deserve to be frozen out and lose work. Kartik, your moves against Aaronson were not born out of idealism or ignorance……they were born out of plain stupidity and suicidal tendencies.

As for the last post, Aaronson consistently backs the person he feels will be a better nominee for the party in the General because he is a first class party loyalist. Look it up, all of the candidates who won that you mentioned were poor nominees.

Anonymous said...

Boy, Aaronson is quite the subject!

Tim L said...

Kartik, your moves against Aaronson were not born out of idealism or ignorance……they were born out of plain stupidity and suicidal tendencies.

You sir, are a jerk to post such a thing.

Anonymous said...

beth hit the nail on the head - anyone who is powerful as jeff and others purports aaronson to be would be delivering wins in all these high profile races. what's the excuse for these losses? kartik once again i assume?

Lou said...

This is amzing. Some of you people must be part of the "machine" that Aaronson runs.

Joe said...

Aaronson is a jerk plain and simple, though I would not under estimate his importance on the statewide level. Part of the reason we Democrats consistently lose is because guys like Aaronson tell the world how important they are and our statewide candidates buy into that and they cow tow to Aaronson and his group of condo commando lahkis.

Really it is quite pathetic.

Matt said...

Aaronson is a tough guy to get along with but an important part of our party. I was not aware that Kartik had been one of the leading opponents of his, though I did hear about the PAC mailings.

Anonymous said...

Hey "Mattingly" maybe you should have been as focused on winning a world series as you are on delivering sleep-inducing nonsensical rants

Jake Pettite said...

Lets sum up the Aaronson situation and move on:

Even Aaronson's friends admit that he can be a vindictive jerk.

Aaronson being a liberal Dem type is comical considering his strong support for Bush's policies on Iraq & his strong pro development stances.

Jeff seems to idioloze Aaronson but he does it in a strange way via bizzare hits on Kartik such as accusing him of being a Karl Rove spy. In effect Jeff is simply making Aaronson like even more petty then his reputation suggests. So the question is -- is Jeff really trying to make Aaronson look bad? That might be the real goal here. I don't think anyone on this board has a direct beef with Aaronson but Jeff via his weird behavior seems to be practically begging we take shots at him and bring out his political imperfections.

Anyone that knows Kartik knows he's one of the nicest guys in politics -- very few people would say the same about Aaronson.

In term of who is wearing the white hat here its clearly Kartik.

matt mattingly said...

If the posts about Aaronson is nonsensical then go refute the points. Again heck if you want to idolize Aaronson go for it buddy --don't want to malign your hero.

In terms of the Yankee reference --that Mattingly isn't playing anymore but I think the team has won its share of World Series. Not that I am fan who would think I'd be defending the Yankees but that comment was dumb enough that it deserved to be responded to.

barryepolitics said...

aaronson might not be perfect but he knows how to get out the vote in the condos.

Kartik maybe a nice guy but in terms of politics nice guys finish last.

barryepolitics said...


You say you have no beef with Aaronson but then you take a bunch of shots at him. So he's pro-development so what? And a lot of Dems supported the Iraq war.

AFBackbreaker said...

Amen BarryE
Aaronson is the backbone of this party.

barryepolitics said...


Right on! Aaronson should be running the state -- these guys don't get the sheer charisma & power of this incredible man. He's more then a man but he's a man on a mission to change the world I am humbled to know him. It saddens me that his enemies won't let up on him -- Matt is making fun of those that adore this man but clearly he's never met him.

matt mattingly said...

All right this Aaronson debate is going on longer then it deserves.

Jeff said...

If Aaronson were a joke like some of you claim, why is that every Democrat running statewide is so anxious to get his support?

I have even heard that some potential candidates for statewide office will not run unless they are assured of his support because in a Democratic Primay with about 500,000 or so voters, 1/5 th or so of the votes needed to win are controlled directly by Aaronson and his group of club leaders in Palm Beach County.

The reason why I am so unhappy with Mr. Kartik is that he choose this important figure to attack in a vicious direct mail campaign. It's one thing if you attack some marginal's another if you attack one of our leaders.

Kartik obviously does not care for Aaronson and he is entitled to his opinion. But rather than hurt the party, he should have kept his views to himself and not damaged one of our most important leaders. What Kartik's actions have done is strengthen the GOP statewide, and make Palm Beach County more Republican. For that he needs to be taken to task.

Jackson said...

I agree with Jeff on all points. Kory Mitchell is not worth the price and Aaronson ought to be exempt from crticism.....attacking him only helps the GOP.

matt mattingly said...

All right -- Jeff, Jackson or whatever you want to call yourself:

This debate is a waste. You worship at Aaronson's alter you think the rules should apply to everyone but him. Good for you.

You feel that how dare Kartik or anyone else challange your god, etc. We aren't going to convince you otherwise.

My point is that this blog was supposed to be about the governor's race but you used it as an opportunity to attack Kartik about your beloved Aaronson and triggered this deabte.

That and the weird email you sent to a bunch of people accusing Kartik of being a Rove spy is only making Aaronson look petty and bad -- so I don't think you are doing your hero any service with that and these posts. Maybe that's your intention but if you truly are an Aaronson fan I'd cool it with these strange posts and emails.

Anonymous said...

Aaronson controls who win the Governor's race- isn't that obvious from this blog?

Anonymous said...

What does Aaronson have to do with Kory Mitchell being fired by Scott Maddox?

Anonymous said...


The poll from Strategic Vision shows movement in the Democratic race for governor. Comparing the July Strategic Vision poll to the June Strategic Vision poll you will find:

Davis is UP 3 points
Smith is UP 1 point
Maddox is DOWN 9 points
Undecided is UP 5

Here's June and July's numbers.

Strategic Vision Poll conducted June 9 - 13, 2005:

Who is your first choice for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2006? (Democrats only)

Jim Davis 23%
Scott Maddox 20%
Rod Smith 14%
Undecided 43%

Strategic Vision Poll conducted July 16 - 20, 2005:

Who is your first choice for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2006? (Democrats only)

Jim Davis 26%
Rod Smith 15%
Scott Maddox 11%
Undecided 48%

Anonymous said...

... And here are the numbers from the Strategic Vision poll conducted April 20 - 24, 2005:

Who is your first choice for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2006? (Democrats only)

Jim Davis 21%
Scott Maddox 15%
Rod Smith 13%
Undecided 51%

matt mattingly said...

Oh OK:

As Beth pointed out Aaronson doesn't carry the vote for the candidates he supports in his own backyard but your theory is that his appeal carries over to the whole state and is the rainmaker who will decide who the next governor is -- interesting!

If true that would be a major story why are you trying to sell that here -- that's a state or national news story you should be talking to reporters about how the race hinges on one man's support.

Jeff said...

Aaronson is one of the most important people to get the backing of if you are to win a Democratic nomination for anything statewide. That's a simple fact that you Aaronson backers and closet Republicans fail to admit.

matt mattingly said...


The one main issue that County Commissioners in South Florida are looked at as either liberal or conservative is based whether they are pro-development (conservative) or pro-environment (liberal) -- and Aaronson is as pro development as they come. The one issue he decided to go national on is supporting Bush on the Iraq War -- so Aaronson certainly from an ideological stand point has some strong Republican tendencies. If you are refering to yourself likewise as a closet Republican --that's OK. Again I think we have all sorts on this site. Unlike how you express your feelings about Kartik -- most people don't take politics personally. Its your right to support conservatives who are we to judge your political stances and heros. Likewise, we would all lay off Aaronson if you left Kartik alone.

Anonymous said...

You guys have no idea how hilarious you sound. County politics are a blip on the screen... We appreciate what you all do, but you really have NO effect on the big picture. Everybody slow down, end the conspiracy posts, and contribute where you can. You're not as important as you think you are.

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I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.