Candidate Kicks Off Campaign With $100k

Article Courtesy of The Broward Beat

By Buddy Nevins

Published October 20, 2013

Heís the candidate to beat.

Mark Bogen wants to parley a big bankroll, two decades as a newspaper columnist and a Rolodex stuffed with contacts in Browardís sprawling condo communities into a seat on the County Commission.

A Democrat, Bogen is the only candidate so far to replace term-limited Kristin Jacobs in Northeast Browardís District 2.

Bogenís resume is tailored made for a political win:

  • A personable, successful lawyer who has the energy and intelligence to campaign hard until next Augustís primary.

  • A law practice that represents two of the biggest condominiums in Jacobs district Ė Wynmoor and Century Village of Deerfield Beach.  Although greatly diminished in political power, the condos will still have thousands of residents cast ballots in the primary.
  • A writer of a condominium column and previously a consumer law column for the Sun-Sentinel for two decades.  That visibility gives him name ID.  When he opened his campaign, his son and law partner Michael Bogen took over the column.
  • A big enough bankroll to kick start his campaign. He began his run by forking over $100,000 of his own money.

This is not an endorsement.  It is a look at his salability as a candidate.

There are some negatives.

  • Bogen has lived in Palm Beach County for the past 10 years and some have already labeled him a carpetbagger.  The charge is largely bogus. Bogen previously lived in Parkland and even worked a stint as a Broward assistant state attorney before entering condo law. He has represented those two huge Broward condo complexes for years and handled legal work for numerous Broward residents, some for free. He registered to vote in Coconut Creek just before filing for office.
  • He had a messy divorce, which he says caused him to file bankruptcy.  He owed $633,924, including $186k to the IRS, according to federal court records. Bogen says many of the liabilities were legal expenses and charges his ex-wife ran up before the divorce.

Heís not perfect, but who is? I donít think these blemishes are campaign killers.  Of course, something else always may surface between now and next August.

Here are two telling points:  The court awarded custody of the children to Bogen and he has a spotless record from the Florida Bar.

Bogen, 55, explains his decision to run like this:

ďIíve always wanted to do public service.  I do a lot of pro-bono work as a lawyer and I wanted to do more.  Iím at a stage in my life and career that I can devote more time to the community.Ē

What could be particularly appealing to voters looking for a change is that Bogen is a political outsider.

He is not part of the web of lobbyists and insiders who hold sway over the Government Center. Bogenís only connection to the old Democratic machine is his campaign management ó Barbara Miller and Amy Rose.

Rose doesnít lobby at the commission.  Miller, who did most of her work at the School Board, hasnít been an active lobbyist for years.

Bogen is a serious candidate who may just be the next County Commissioner from Northeast Broward.

Right now, heís the candidate to beat.