The Broward Squeeze: Handicapping Senate District 33

Eleanor Sobel who won this seat in a hotly contested 2008 Primary with two other former State House members is term-limited. Like most other Broward County-based seats, this race will be decided in the Democratic Primary.

The 33rd District, includes

Includes Dania Beach, Davie , Plantation and portions of Cooper City, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Miramar, Sunrise and Pembroke Pines in central and southeastern Broward County

Projected turnout based on the last major primary:  18,348
50 plus 1 to win (2 way race):  9,175 voters

Likely Candidate:  
Lauren Book:  
Strengths: strong record of child advocacy, very well connected father (Lobbyist Ron Book) who will be a strong asset, she could raise serious campaign dollars.
Weaknesses:  party loyalty (in recent times, she wasn’t a registered Democrat), her father is a well known lobbyist who has a strong connections but also some enemies and baggage within the political community.
Assessment: The odds-on favorite to win the seat. Most Democrats in Broward County have proven ideology and party loyalty don’t matter to them in recent primary battles so Book’s lack of party credentials probably won’t hurt her as much as insiders would claim. But it is still an issue for some and if a strong opponent emerges it could be a factor.
Candidacy strength:  A level
Potential candidates:
Jennifer Gottlieb:
Strengths:  Gottlieb should retain strong name identification in the district.  She’s run and won county-wide. She’s an aggressive and tirelessly dedicated campaigner who will likely formidable in the condos. This district is condo heavy.
Weaknesses:  The slew of articles mainly from the Broward -Palm Beach New Times about her personal issues and ties to her school board record and recognition, can she raise the funds given the doubts about her viability?
Assessment: Residual name ID helps but faces long odds if running against Book especially given her difficult exit from School Board.
Candidacy strength:  B level
Katie Edwards:
Strengths:   She has a potential base in the west part of the district and her profile fits well for that region, has a history of successfully campaigning in Jewish areas.  She could raise campaign funds and line up endorsements. However, she has shown little interest in running.
Weaknesses:  Checkered record on some progressive issues including the living wage and gun control.
Assessment: Broward Democratic primaries have proven to be less-ideological affairs than in other parts of the state and her record probably wouldn’t hurt her as much as some readers of this site might think or hope. Chances of her running are minimal but we’ve listed her because she’d be the most formidable sitting elected official that could run here.
Candidacy strength:  A level
Evan Jenne:
Strengths:  Aggressive, personable and well connected campaigner who knows how to raise money.
Weaknesses:  Could he raise money in a race against other fellow-Tallahassee connected candidates?
Assessment: Jenne is popular among progressives and is influential among the House Democrats. He’ll stay put.
Candidacy strength:  B level
Elaine Schwartz
Strengths:  Strong ties to Eleanor Sobel and a name that sounds identicial to hers, strong Hollywood base
Weaknesses:  would likely be outgunned financially by the other potential opponents.
Assessment: Unlikely to run
Candidacy strength:  C level
Summary:  Right now, Lauren Book is the presumptive favorite until someone else enters the ring.  Edwards is unlikely to run. That’s somewhat surprising considering she’d be a formidable candidate and likely favorite in the race.   Gottlieb’s name has circulated but less so recently so I presume she is  now less likely to run.   Book is the favorite currently by default but she is certainly vulnerable considering party purity could be an key X factor in any Democratic primary especially in a liberal district such as this one. However, as we have seen in other Broward primaries ideological purity doesn’t matter as much as it might in other parts of the state.
In addition, some mention that Book’s ability to raise streams of money makes her tough to beat.  However, she is running in a Democratic State Senate primary not Congress or US Senate. There is so much you need to spend and at some point overkill spending backfires with voters.  The law of diminishing returns could apply here.  As I like pointing out in these types of articles, it doesn’t take that many votes to win this seat.  And a strong and disciplined grassroots campaign could easily outstrip a money driven one if it lacks a grassroots component,
As long as Book’s opponent, whomever that might be can raise enough to be competitive, it won’t matter if they are outspent.  If Book was running for a competitive Congressional seat her financial advantage would be daunting but a State Senate primary particularly in a district this compact is a totally different ball game.  Book is a strong candidate and the likely winner at this point but this seat is too attractive and Book has too many questions vulnerable not to ultimately attract strong opposition. So, despite Book being the favorite, I expect this seat to be an interesting one to watch.


  1. steve ellman · · Reply

    Please no Lauren Book. Tallahassee power is too inbred as it is.


  2. Lauren and Ron Book have been scamming the state budget for years. No to Lauren Book.


  3. I agree with your opinions. I believe that Representative Edwards would win this election hands down if she decides to run. In my opinion she is a progressive and a pragmatist. She appears to work 24/7 and I believe she will play her cards close to the vest. I think she will analyze every possible situation before she makes any decision. She will predict every possible move as in a game of chess. Personally, I would like to see her run for the U.S.Senate, but would welcome any decision she makes. She is intelligent and a proven winner!!


    1. NRA Barbie · · Reply

      Pick me!


  4. A Florida Democrat · · Reply

    Calling Representative Edwards a progressive Elaine is like calling Jeb Bush a moderate. The records don’t lie.


  5. Lauren Book has no business being the heir apparent for this seat.

    Just shows the corruption and insularity of the legislative class.


  6. CFLDem · · Reply

    Lauren Book has been a republican, then an Indy and now a Democrat over the past couple of years. While it’s nice to have her on our side, there are more issues than just child safety and you have to wonder where she will fall on other issues especially with her father’s money in play.


  7. Charles · · Reply

    Has anyone seen Lauren Book’s fundraising? She’s taken $40,000 from the Geo Group (private prison companies), $100,000 from the Dolphins (stadium scamming), and $20,000 from big sugar. NO THANKS.


    1. steve ellman · · Reply

      Gee. I wonder how many of her contributors are on daddy’s client list?
      Any ethical issues there??? Nah, couldn’t be.


  8. Emmanuel Blimie, NSU graduate and author is also running for this seat. Strengths: Charismatic, Strong Networking skills, strategic, superb canvasser, skills he learned knocking doors for Obama/Biden, Debbie Wassermann-Schultz, Charlie Crist, Bill Nelson and GrassRoot Florida. He’s worked the turf before. Was elected a student body leader without bid for the office. Weakness: Fundraising, Not that well known.


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