South Florida lawmakers, School Board Chair endorse Chad Klitzman for SD 35

Chad Klitzman 2023
‘Chad has been an outspoken advocate.’

Eleven current and former elected officials are backing Democratic lawyer Chad Klitzman’s Senate District 35 campaign, including two sitting state lawmakers and the highest-ranking person overseeing education in Broward County.

Klitzman’s campaign announced that Boca Raton Sen. Tina Polsky, Davie Rep. Mike Gottlieb and Broward School Board Chair Lori Alhadeff are endorsing him.

Polsky said in a statement Klitzman carries “top-notch legal training and an impressive record of service” in the community.

“We need folks in Tallahassee committed to defending our fundamental rights — especially reproductive rights and the right to vote — and Chad has been an outspoken advocate on these issues for years,” she said.

Gottlieb said Klitzman understands the community’s needs.

“He’s committed to tackling the affordability issues we face and will stand up for justice,” he said. “I also know he will be a strong voice in Tallahassee for the Jewish community as we grapple with rising rates of antisemitism.”

Alhadeff added that Klitzman, a product of Broward public schools, “will be a strong advocate for our schools in Tallahassee,” particularly on issues of safety.

Others who throwing their support behind Klitzman include South Broward Drainage District Commissioner Robert Goggin IV, former Sens. Eleanor Sobel and Robert McKnight, former Rep. Richard Stark, former Coconut Creek Mayor Lisa Aronson, former Hollywood Mayor Peter Bober, former Cooper City Mayor Debby Eisinger, and Ellie Schafer, a who served as a special assistant to former President Barack Obama.

“It means so much to have the support of so many influential community leaders, many of whom have inspired me to pursue public service,” Klitzman said in a statement.

Inclusive of a $100,000 self-loan, Klitzman raised more than $205,000 in November and December, his first two months running to succeed term-limited Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book in SD 35.

Halfway through January, he said he added another $50,000 to his war chest.

“Our campaign continues to build incredible momentum, and I am confident we will have the support needed to win this election decisively,” he said.

Klitzman, who fell just 607 votes short of winning a 2020 bid for Broward County Supervisor of Elections, is set to face at least two Primary opponents: former Broward Mayor Barabara Sharief, who lost to Book in 2022, and Rodney Jacobs, who leads a city-created police watchdog group in Miami.

So far, former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Vinny Parlatore is the only Republican running in SD 35.

At 29, Klitzman is the youngest person in the SD 35 race. But he’s not inexperienced in government or the legislative process.

He interned at the White House during Barack Obama’s presidency, served twice in appointed roles with the U.S. Department of Transportation and did back-to-back internships under U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper’s administration as Colorado Governor and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette.

He also spent two years working in the legal department at JetBlue Airways, where he focused on intellectual property, government affairs, data privacy and marketing issues.

Outside of politics, he’s an accomplished screenwriter. His debut screenplay, “Candy Jar,” was turned into a feature film of the same name now streaming on Netflix.

SD 35 is a heavily Democratic-leaning district in Broward that stretches westward into Alligator Alley, including Cooper City, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Southwest Ranches and parts of Davie and Hollywood.

The Primary Election is on Aug. 20, followed by the General Election on Nov. 5.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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