Gary Farmer to seek open judge position in Broward County
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/08/22-Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, speaks against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill prior to the Senate approving it, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

The Lighthouse Point Senator would have faced a Primary battle with a Democratic colleague if he sought re-election.

Sen. Gary Farmer, who was the Senate Democratic Leader until last April, has filed to run for an open judge position in the 17th Circuit Court in Broward County, the state elections site shows.

Farmer first won election to the Senate in 2016 and was subsequently re-elected in 2020. The state’s decennial redistricting this year put him in the same district as Sen. Jason Pizzo, however. And seeking re-election would have forced the incumbents into a Primary battle.

Farmer said he was considering a bid for Congress when U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch announced he would not be seeking re-election to the congressional seat he’s held since 2010.

Farmer could not be reached for comment Thursday.

If elected, the Lighthouse Point Democrat would be replacing Judge Barbara McCarthy. McCarthy did not seek re-election to her position even though, at age 69, she is still younger than the mandatory retirement age for judges. Gov. Charlie Crist appointed McCarthy to the bench in 2009 and she was subsequently elected in 2010 for the first time.

Two other candidates have also qualified to run for the Group 23 seat, Michael Ahearn of Wilton Manors and Tania Williams, whose campaign documents list her in Coral Gables. The state election department shows that Rhoda Sokoloff of Fort Lauderdale, like Farmer, is listed as an “active” candidate.

Farmer was ousted from his leadership role in the Senate three days before the end of the 2021 Session. He faced a no-confidence vote after days of intra-party turmoil, leading to the current Democratic Senate Leader, Lauren Book, taking over. She won the unanimous support of her Senate colleagues.

Farmer has been a fiery speaker in the Legislature, representing the more liberal wing of the party.

He sounded the alarm over the proposed public review of school books as a Senate committee debated whether to allow the public to participate in limiting what books are used in schools.

“The book banning, or book limitation provisions scares the you-know-what out of me,” he said in one committee hearing this past Session, recalling that Nazis put Helen Keller’s book in a fire.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Wilbur Harbin

    April 29, 2022 at 12:36 am

    Hi Anne

    According to the Candidate Listing on the Florida Division of Elections website, Gary Farmer Jr. would have been in a run-off with Shevrin Jones, not Jason Pizzo. The Candidate Listing showed Farmer and Jones in the District 34 race and Jason PIzzo in the District 37 race, without any challengers. I “think” the new redistricting map for the Florida Senate incorrectly shows District 34 (Farmer’s current District) as District 37 and District 37 (Pizzo’s new district, formerly District 38) as District 34. I sent a few emails to confirm if the map was correct, but I have not received a response.

  • Garl Pink

    April 29, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    There is no way in this world that Gary Farmer deserves to be a judge of anything, much less human beings with real lives and problems. First he cannot make up his mind what it is he wants to be when he grows up. Second, he clearly has no concept of the term “loyalty.” Third, wasn’t this the guy who went after Lauren Book when she sought to serve her caucus in the state senate, just because she was a mother with two small children? Precisely what would be this guy’s natural constituency — people with lousy tempers, folks who have no ability to play well with others, or those who just believe that women with children should not seek positions of leadership.

  • The Mob

    May 3, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    The biggest piece of junk is Rhoda Sokoloff, hope somebody beats her

Comments are closed.


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