Back in 2002, in the waning years of my political consulting career, one of my clients took a particularly tough loss. Declan Mansfield is a New Port Richey attorney who would be a judge today if not for the duplicitious campaigning of one John Renke III. Renke and his consultant, the Mallard Group, threw lots of mud at Mansfield and misrepresented Renke's resume to win a seat on the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court. Losing this one ripped my heart out.
Today, the Florida Supreme Court took a bit of the sting out of that loss. In a blistering opinion, it threw Renke off the bench for a laundry list of ethical and legal violations in his campaign. See the court's opinion here.
The Supreme Court's action was particularly unusual in light of the fact that the state's Judicial Qualifications Commission had specifically asked that he not be removed from the bench. The Supreme Court justices, however, felt that Renke's actions were so egregious that "removal from the bench is the only appropriate sanction in this case."
Renke's dad, John Renke II, is a Republican state committeeman and former state representative from Pasco County.