Broward mailers paint Democratic Senate candidate as a major GOP donor (he insists he’s not)

Meet Chad Klitzman
He took particular umbrage with one mailer he said elicits an ‘antisemitic trope.’

Mailers portraying Democratic lawyer Chad Klitzman as the man behind nearly $2 million in campaign contributions to Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and other GOP politicians are now hitting mailboxes across southwest Broward County.

The thing is, Klitzman never donated to them, nor did his former law firm that the mailers say the money came from.

Klitzman is one of three Democrats running to succeed term-limited Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book in the seat representing Senate District 35. Another one of those Democratic candidates is a former Republican who mounted a costly challenge against Book in 2022.

The third is a first-time candidate with ties to the political committee that paid for the mailers, which only target Klitzman.

Progressive Youth PC, a Tampa-based PC, designed and is sending four mailers to SD 35 voters. At least two have already gone out. All convey the same message: Klitzman should be held accountable for the $1.76 million that his former law firm, White & Case, gave to Trump, DeSantis, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and a slew of other GOP notables from 2012 to 2024.

The flyers list Florida’s abortion ban, book restrictions in public schools and the Florida GOP’s pro-gun policies as among the policies the firm in general, and Klitzman in association with the firm, supported through donations.

“Progressive Youth PC’s mission is to support pro-justice, pro-consumer and pro-environment candidates. Chad Klitzman is none of those things,” said John T. Smith, the PC’s Chair. “Chad campaigns on his experience as a Barack Obama intern and Ivy League lawyer, but it’s time he owns all his associations.”

One of four mailers bound for Broward mailboxes targeting Democratic Senate candidate Chad Klitzman. Image via Progressive Youth PC.

But White & Case made no federal-level monetary contributions to any current or former elected officials. Such donations are banned. Rather, the money came from members of the law firm, as is made clear by OpenSecrets — a campaign finance-tracking nonprofit the mailers repeatedly cite as sources.

Klitzman, who left White & Case this month to focus on his Primary race, doesn’t think blaming him for independent donations made by his coworkers is fair.

“Neither I nor the firm control where thousands of lawyers across the globe who work at the firm elect to send their dollars,” he said. “Imagine if everyone were held responsible for donations their employer and coworkers made to candidates. No one would ever be able to run for office.”

Klitzman, who state and federal records show has exclusively donated to Democrats, took particular umbrage with what could be construed as antisemitic imagery in one of the mailers. The mailer in question shows Klitzman, who is Jewish, looming large over diminutive images of Trump, DeSantis and Rubio with paper money raining down behind him.

“I was very disturbed by the use of an antisemitic trope in showering me with hundred-dollar bills as I allegedly work to pull strings for Republicans behind the scenes,” he said. “This is a heavily Jewish district and many voters were disturbed by this scene as well.”

Fox called the allegations of antisemitism “absurd” and said Klitzman can’t campaign on his unpaid internship at the White House while also asking voters to ignore his work at a law firm linked to large GOP donations.

“(It’s a) law firm who represents polluters, Big Pharma and big banks, and gives millions of dollars to the Republican Party,” he said. “Chad Klitzman can’t have it both ways.”

Antisemitic imagery? Image via Progressive Youth PC.

Oddly, Progressive Youth PC doesn’t appear to be going after either of the other Democrats in the race: former Broward Mayor Barbara Sharief, a Republican until 2005 who mounted a contentious and costly campaign against Book in 2022; and Rodney Jacobs, a Miramar resident and first-time candidate who runs a police oversight panel in Miami.

A dive into recent financial activity Jacobs’ political committee, A New Hope For Tomorrow, posted on its website reveals ties between it and Progressive Youth PC.

This month, A New Hope For Tomorrow split $51,000 it received in May from a Florida Justice Association-related PAC between two recipients: Mark PC and Tampa’s Tomorrow, which donated $33,500 and $25,100, respectively, to Progressive Youth PC.

Mark PC is chaired by Jacobs’ Treasurer, Mark Herron. Fox chairs Tampa’s Tomorrow, which paid $12,500 to political consulting firm ENH Industries last year. ENH’s principal, Dan Newman, manages Jacobs’ campaign.

Mark PC’s most recent campaign finance report shows a $13,250 transfer to Tampa’s Tomorrow.

Jacobs also received $5,000 in April from Building a Better Florida, a PC chaired by lobbyist Michael Corcoran. Corcoran is a former Republican Party of Florida fundraiser, House staffer, prominent Rubio supporter and the brother of New College of Florida President Richard Corcoran, a DeSantis ally who served under the Governor as Education Commissioner from 2019 to 2022.

Florida Politics contacted Jacobs for comment but received no response by press time.

First-time candidate Rodney Jacobs has financial ties to the political committee behind the mailers. Image via Rodney Jacobs Jr.

Klitzman, who lost a 2020 race for Broward Supervisor of Elections by a razor-thin margin, launched a bid for SD 35 in late October. He said he wants to “shake things up in Tallahassee” by reorienting the Legislature’s priorities away from culture war issues and more toward “defending our rights and protecting our wallets.”

At 29, he’s the youngest person in the race. His political experience includes a 2014 internship with the Obama administration, as well asback-to-back internships under Democratic U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper’s administration as Colorado Governor and Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette. He also spent two years working in the legal department of JetBlue Airways, where he focused on intellectual property, government affairs and data privacy.

Before joining White & Case, Klitzman was an associate attorney at the international law firm Paul Weiss Rifkin Wharton & Garrison, which he said “held the record in the last presidential cycle for the greatest amount of raw dollars flowing from employees to Democratic candidates of any large law firm in the country and is also home to two Obama cabinet secretaries.”

Through May 31, Klitzman raised $318,000 through his campaign account and political committee, Future of Broward Inc., including $100,000 in self-loans. Sharief has raised $281,000, of which 76% is self-loaned.

Jacobs, meanwhile, has amassed $166,000.

The winner of the three-way Democratic Primary will face Vinny Parlatore, a former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy who has raised $2,125 — 76.5% of it self-given — since filing to run in September.

SD 35 spans a large area of Broward stretching westward into Alligator Alley, including Cooper City, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Southwest Ranches and parts of Davie and Hollywood.

The district leans heavily Democratic, with 43% of registered voters there belonging to the Democratic Party compared to 32% who belong to no party, 23% who are Republican and 1% who are part of the Independent Party.

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.


  • PeterH

    June 19, 2024 at 11:08 am

    Attacking fellow candidates on frivolous speculation should be left to the MAGA crowd. Candidates are not responsible for the affiliation or actions of their co-workers! Racist tropes have no place in our political discourse!

  • Mariella

    June 24, 2024 at 7:14 am

    Chad Klitzman or any. other candidates are not responsible their employer and coworkers donations, it is another vicious MAGA campaign. I had the chance to personally briefly meet Chad when he came around our neighborhood knocking doors leaving a profound positive impression after exchanging a few words. Happy to have young candidates with talent fighting for WE the people and our rights to cast a ballot and improve civics education in our schools.

Comments are closed.


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