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Sheriff candidate: black pastors support me

Scott Israel, the Democratic candidate for Broward sheriff, will hold a presser this afternoon at Word of the Living God in Pompano Beach to announce the endorsement of eight black pastors.

Federal tax law  prohibits nonprofits -- including churches -- from participating in political campaigns on behalf of candidates, but religious leaders can make endorsements personally.

Israel is in a competitive race against Republican Sheriff Al Lamberti. The presser today is an attempt for Israel to shore up support from one of his bases: black voters.

A poll released earlier this week showed that Lamberti is 10 percentage points ahead but Israel is winning about 61 percent of the black vote. The poll was done by Jim Kane for browardbeat.com, a political blog.

Both Lamberti and Israel are white.  Israel has reached out to black voters by highlighting endorsements from black elected officials and attacking Lamberti for hiring an all-white transition team.

Nearly half of the employees at BSO are minorities.

The black pastors who will announce their endorsements of Israel include: Bishop Darnell  Mack, Agape Worship Center; Pastor Alonzo Neal, Antioch Baptish Church; Pastor George Brown, Calvary Outreach Ministry; Pastor Gary McCloud, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church and Pastor Anthony Burrell, Mt.  Calvary Baptist Church. Three other ministers are listed on Israel's press release without a church affiliation: Amos Benefield, Charles Branch and Robert Jackson.

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