Former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff announced Wednesday she's ready for a re-match against Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, in the Democrat-leaning district that straddles Broward and Palm Beach counties.
In a note to her followers, Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, said she expects the match-up will be hard work but wants "the opportunity to serve our community."
Sachs defeated Bogdanoff two years ago by five percentage points in one of the most bitterly-fought and expensive legislative campaigns of the 2012 election.
After sitting out for two years, Bogdanoff has been heavily recruited to run by Sen. Jack Latvala who is counting on her support to bring him the title of Senate president in 2016. Latvala, R-Clearwater, and state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, are rumored to be locked in a 13-13 tie and Bogdanoff has pledged to support Latvala and be rewarded with a high profile post.
But before Bogdanoff faces off against Sachs she may have a primary challenger -- Joseph Bensmihen of Boca Raton, a wealthy owner of a home health company, is rumored to be ready to run in the GOP primary.
Negron said in a statement that, contrary to previous reports, "I am not backing possible candidate Joseph Bensmihen in the District 34 Senate seat."
In an interview Bogdanoff said she will focus on jobs, the economy, children’s issues and criminal justice reform. Asked about her primary opponent, Bogdanoff said that he has financially supported her and volunteered for her in the past.
“I’m running against Maria Sachs,” she said.
Bogdanoff said the race will be different this time because it's not a presidential election year.
“I won’t have Obama on the top of the ticket,'' she said. "You can’t compare a presidential election race to an off-year race in terms of trying to overcome a national election and all the noise that is being made. ... It was a banner year -- a Democratic sweep, everybody saw that.”
Bogdanoff wouldn’t cite a specific fundraising goal or estimate about what the race will cost but predicted it will be lower than two years ago since voter turnout will be lower.
The race already promises to be divisive. Sachs was a prime sponsor of legislation to report greyhound injuries at race tracks. On Wednesday, the Florida Greyhound Association put out an alert to its members urging them to contribute to Bogdanoff’s campaign.
Sachs has already raised $193,000, according to campaign reports and has spent about $24,000.
Staff writer Amy Sherman contributed to this report.
Here's Bogdanoff's note:
Subj: (no subject)
I hope all is well with you and yours.
Over 30 years ago, I began volunteering as a child advocate and activist for public education. The opportunity to serve our community has been an amazing honor that I cherish, and I have never lost sight of why I became involved in the political process.
I have had time to reflect on my desire to continue to make things better for our community. After many hours of deliberation and discussion with my family, friends, community leaders, and of course you, I have decided to run for Senate District 34. I will be sending the paperwork to Tallahassee today.
We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and I hope I can count on your help. The outpouring of support has been humbling, and I am excited to tackle the challenge ahead. As you know, I love campaigning and I hope you will join me on the campaign trail.
Thank you for being there. Thank you for believing in me.
Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff, Esq.
Certified Circuit Civil and Family Mediator
EBS Consulting and EBS Management