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Ritter: I am leaning toward running for Congress

Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter said she is leaning toward running for Robert Wexler's seat in Congress and will likely make a decision next week.

"It's a wonderful chance to serve with my guy -- President Obama -- and join him with my friends in Congress,'' she said.

Ritter's name recognition might be particularly high now after news reports about how her father, Tamarac mayoral candidate Edward Portner, pointed a gun at her last week.

"I was in the Fort Lauderdale airport this morning flying out and some older gentleman came up to me and said 'I saw you in the news. ... It must have been a terrible ordeal.' I think I am probably more recognizable.''

Should she run, Ritter's opponents would have much fodder for attacks -- including an open elections complaint related to her past fundraising filed by activist Brenda Chalifour who has fought with Ritter. Ritter's husband Russ Klenet has also been in the news a lot for his ties to lobbying clients.

 Also, a cloud is hanging over county hall since federal officials arrested County Commissioner Josephus Eggelletion last month in a money laundering scheme unrelated to his political post. It's unclear to what extent federal officials have widened their probe at county hall where they only met with Eggelletion's aides and the transportation director briefly.

"I have never been contacted by anyone in the federal government regarding any of this or anything at the county,'' Ritter said. "I know there are a lot of rumors swirling around about the federal investigation. I have never been contacted.''

Ritter has much going for her as a candidate: she has experience and name recognition as a former legislator, access to donors who would fund her campaign and the possibility that she might be the only female among several male candidates. Also, Ritter's county district includes Kings Point in Tamarac, the senior Democratic stronghold that will turn out in force to vote in the Congressional race.