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Broward sheriff's candidate raises $180,000

Scott Israel has raised $180,150 in his campaign for Broward sheriff, according to his finance report submitted today.

Israel was the frontrunner among the Democratic candidates as of the last financial reporting period which ended in March. It's unclear if he is still leading the pack since most of the candidates haven't submitted their reports which are due Friday.

But it's clear that he is far behind Sheriff Al Lamberti -- the lone Republican who had raised $300,000 by the end of March.

Israel has taken heat at political forums recently for switching his party registration from Republican to Democrat in Novemer. That was after Gov. Charlie Crist passed Israel over for the appointment as sheriff. Crist appointed Lamberti, a BSO major, to replace Ken Jenne after he resigned amid corruption charges.

Israel, 52, said he registered as a Republican when he was 18 to get summer jobs while living in Long Island. But he says he always voted for Democrats.

"Cops are not political people. I was a cop,'' he said. "Every November I could vote for who I wanted anyway.''

But Chip LaMarca, Broward's Republican Party Chair who is supporting Lamberti, said Israel joined the Republican's executive committee last year.

"I had a conversation with him to make sure he was a Republican and not just registered that way,'' LaMarca said.

Israel said he didn't join the committee -- he says he just went to a couple of meetings.

Israel is one of five Democrats running in the Aug. 26 primary. The winner will face Lamberti Nov. 4.