The Florida Federation for Children, an organization at odds with the Florida School Board Association over the FSBA’s position of school vouchers, targeted and defeated both FSBA president, Karen Disney-Brombach, of Indian River County and president-elected, Diane Smith, of Volusia County, in yesterday’s primary election.
The American Federation for Children, a Washington D.C. based pro-education choice group also entered the local fray, contributing $20,000 of the $20,100 raised by Indian River Conservatives for Better Schools. The group is headed by Laura Zorc, wife of County Commissioner Tim Zorc.
Across the state, the Florida Federation for Children has spent more than $400,000 to defeat incumbents like Brombach and Smith. The groups primary objective is to promote vouchers and to elect candidates opposed to national curriculum standards.
On its website today, AFC posted a story headlined, “FFC (Florida Federation for Children) congratulates last night’s Florida primary winners.”
“The top two races involved current President of the FSBA executive committee, Karen Disney-Brombach (Indian River) and the incoming President, Diane Smith (Volusia). Their challengers, Shawn Frost and Melody Johnson, respectively, are opposed to the FSBA lawsuit and support giving children as many quality educational options as possible. Frost and Johnson defeated the incumbent board members, with Frost winning all 37 precincts. FFC invested in electioneering communications in both races,” the AFC reported.
Frost, a newcomer to local politics with some questionable residency qualifications, (See: Frost says he is living in garage apartment at his father’s house in District 1), defeated Brombach 54 percent to 46 percent. In addition to being helped by local, though nationally funded, attacks on Brombach, Frost was helped by a flood of additional attack mailers, all paid for by the Florida Federation for Children. More outside help came from individual contributors to Frost’s campaign. Some two thirds of the direct contributions to Frost’s campaign were from out-of-state donors. In the reporting period ending August 18, Frost raised $6,340, $5,500 from out of state contributors, including several described as “venture capitalists.”
The AFC and the FFC made a similar investment in defeating Diane Smith of Volusia County.