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Ruling boosts Democrats

caines | 8/2/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Judge Zloch ruled that the Democratic Primary race between Katherine Fernandez-Rundle and Roderick Vereen should be a closed Democratic Primary. This means that only registered Democrats can vote in the race. It will give Roderick Vereen a strong opportunity to beat a well-known State Attorney, who has better funding. In a closed Democratic race, there are more Black registered Democrats than Hispanics and white registered Democrats. I believe many Black voters will vote for Roderick Vereen, because he is a well-known figure in the Black community after his run for congress. His campaign will benefit from high Black voter turn-out, which may occur because of the contested races in Miami Gardens, and the high profile County Commission races where three Black county commissioners have drawn opposition. This is also an election year for President Obama, and Black voters are more attuned to this election season, and voter turn-out should be high. While Katherine Fernandez Rundle lost the court battle to open the primary to Republican and Independent voters, which would have made her opportunity to win this election much stronger, she is still a formidable foe, because of her huge financial advantage and county wide name recognition. This race pits two of my friends against each other. I respect Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, who has shown her commitment to diversity in her hiring and has developed many innovative programs that have enhanced the criminal justice system. She has had some problems in her office, particularly in high profile cases. The Miami Herald recently did an expose on the office of the state attorneys failure to prosecute politically powerful Congressman David Rivera. In this instance, if she prosecuted and lost then it would have been considered poor decision making. At the same token, by taking on an investigation and being pushed by FDLE to prosecute and then not prosecuting, it makes her appear afraid to take on high profile, hispanic political opponents. As a result of the investigation, she has developed a high profile antagonist in the form of Congressman Rivera. I also respect Roderick Vereen, who has been a very close friend for 25 years. He is one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country and has handled more high profile criminal cases than any other Black attorney in South Florida. He was very confident that he would win the election case before Judge Zloch, and his prediction was correct. His hurdle will be fighting a candidate who has raised an enormous war chest and has countywide recognition.. He cannot win on the Black vote alone, and must and should appeal to other ethnic groups if he wants to represent all of Miami-Dade County as its top prosecutor. This race has been interesting, because both opponents are very smart, strategic political actors. This is like watching a master chest game between two great, chess masters. In this political junkies opinion, this is the most interesting race in the county. I am dying to see how it all turns out on August 14. By Reginald J. Clyne, Esq.,Miami Times columnist, rjc@clynelegal.com