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Jim Waldman lends himself $200k to jump start Senate campaign

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Former Coconut Creek city commissioner and former state Rep. Jim Waldman has kicked in $200,000 of his own money to his bid to succeed Margate state Sen. Jeremy Ring in the state Senate, according to recent filings with the Division of Elections.

Waldman is putting his money where his mouth is with a substantial personal investment in taking over for the term-limited Ring, who like Waldman is known as a well-heeled Democrat capable of bringing home the bacon, both personally and in the state budget.

The District 29 seat is a major prize in Democratic politics. It contains nearly double the number of Dems as Republicans, with a split of around 133,000 Ds to 83,000 Rs according to 2010 census data.

A rising star and former Broward County mayor, state Rep. Kristin Jacobs is thought to have an interest in the seat, as is perennial Democratic player Gary Farmer.

An entry by the latter would set up an interesting scenario that would split the Florida Justice Association affiliates, both in terms of primary votes and campaign dollars.

Trial attorneys have been supportive of both candidates in the recent past. An endorsement by local legal eagle and former state Sen. Walter “Skip” Campbell of Tamarac may well be decisive in such an intra-party Broward County showdown, where primaries are heavily influenced by complex patronage ties and local Democratic club endorsements.

With any luck, Waldman’s days as a regular at Tallahassee’s Clyde’s and Costello’s on Adams Street may just continue well into the third decade of the millennium.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at ryan@floridapolitics.com.

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