From the outside it looks like there’s a tough Republican primary brewing in the special election to replace Senate President Joe Negron in SD 15, but a closer look at Belinda Keiser’s campaign messaging raises a lot of questions.
Cast aside the fact that she lives 80 miles south of the Martin- and St. Lucie-based district and her past financial support of Democratic Party politicians, and even still Keiser looks as though she’s undergoing a desperate and rapid shift to make herself palatable to Republican voters on the Treasure Coast.
According to most reports, the Keiser University chancellor has been a member of the Republican Party since 2007, and there’s no doubt that she is, indeed, a Republican right now — she’s received numerous board appointments during the GOP’s reign over the Governor’s mansion, most recently from Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed her to the Constitution Revision Commission.
But according to Keiser, she’s always been a conservative even though she hasn’t always been a Republican. After going through the spin cycle of her campaign she’s decided that she joined the GOP in 2001, though according to that timeline the flip would have come just months after she mounted a failed Democratic primary campaign for a state House seat. Talk about a sore loser.
As her first campaign mailer puts it: “Inspired by the vision of our most trusted leaders, in 2001, Belinda finds a home in the Republican Party and leans on the conservative values we cherish to build a successful life and business.”
That explanation euphemistically sidesteps saying she “joined the Republican Party,” and is oddly contradicted by appearing under a title line that reads “Coming soon…”
It’s not the only doozy printed in the multi-page monster that’s started hitting SD 25 mailboxes in recent days.
One page claims the Broward pol was raised on “traditional conservative values: put family first, help her neighbors, and give back for the blessings bestowed by God.” If that’s too ambiguous for die-hard Republican voters, she also claims to have been “raised to live like Christ and love America.”
That’s sure to offend many, even in today’s environment. Let’s just hope that’s two parental directives rather than one, else it raises questions about what apocryphal text served as the basis of her upbringing.
Looking past the cringe, the mailer is riddled with numerous errors small and large.
On the front page of the mailer, Keiser attempts to tout her early support of President Donald Trump. That’s sure to be a winner among GOP faithful, yet whomever slapped the mailer together couldn’t even spell her name right.
Keiser faces Stuart Republican Rep. Gayle Harrell in the primary. Stuart Democrat Rob Levy has also announced declared for the seat. The special elections will be held concurrently with the regularly scheduled Aug. 28 primary election and Nov. 6 general election.
Keiser’s mailer is below.