Corruption County – Has Anything Changed?

Friday was the qualifying date for the State Attorney position. As the date approached, it looked like the choice of the county Democrats, Dave Aronberg, would claim the prize unopposed. Many of the county movers and shakers on both sides of the political spectrum had already lined up to assist in the coronation. BizPac was on board, as well as our two Republican Commissioners Karen Marcus and Steve Abrams, right alongside Ted Deutch, Alcee Hastings, Ron Klein and Robert Wexler. And Burt Aaronson of course. See: Newsmax CEO, Republicans raise money for Democrat Aronberg’s state attorney bid

As you might recall, Michael McAuliffe, who held the position and was seeking re-election until his recent resignation to take a “private sector job”, was an ace corruption fighter. It was he who organized the Grand Jury that led to the Ethics Initiative and the creation of the Ethics Commission and the Office of Inspector General. At some point he crossed a line though and the arrest and plea bargain of former Commissioner Jeff Koons was evidently a bridge too far. Post editorial writer Randy Schultz reports that “…Burt Aaronson returned from vacation and roared his disapproval at the treatment of his fellow Democrat – by a Democratic state attorney.”

Final straw I guess, and the tale of intimidation of McAuliffe, as well as Judge Krista Marx who planned to run for the position has been reported. See Randy’s editorial “Schultz: ‘Corruption County’ tactics to anoint the top prosecutor” for the whole sordid tale.

End of story? Not so fast. Another Democrat, Robert Gershman, who had intended to run against Aronberg but was “strongly advised” against doing so by his local party machine, decided to file anyway, as an independent. Then, at the very last minute, a Republican, former federal prosecutor Dina Keever joined the fray. So there will be an election after all. Both Gershman and Keever are experienced trial attorneys (a qualification for the office we would think), while Aronberg is not.

Given the D+16 nature of county-wide races, and the high profile support for Aronberg, the obstacles for the challengers are daunting indeed. Nevertheless, it is now a race and I applaud Mr. Gershman and Ms. Keever for stepping up. Please give them a look. There are too many races at the county and state level with an annointed candidate and no opposition.

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