POINCIANA – Jeffrey A. Goldmacher knew that when he got into the race to become an Osceola County commissioner, he was going to get criticized by his political opponents, and that his platform would come in for scrutiny and attack. Anybody who puts themselves out on the campaign trail, he understood, had to expect that.
What he didn’t at all anticipate, Goldmacher said, was postcards being mailed to homes in the district that attack him in very different ways – by alleging that the Republican candidate for the commission seat isn’t fit for public office because, as the postcard alleges, he’s a nudist and an atheist.
It was, Goldmacher said, an eye-opening introduction to rough and tumble, dirty mudslinging tactics – not to mention, he added, highly inaccurate ones.
He blames the postcard on supporters of one of his rivals in the Aug. 14 Republican primary, businessman Tony Ferrentino.
“Everywhere he goes, he says ‘I’m running against the nudist atheist,’ ” Goldmacher said. “He’s figuring this county is only going to elect someone who is truly Christian, and he’s it.”
If that’s the case, Goldmacher said, the postcard is backfiring, since it’s brought out a lot of local residents who feel the postcard was a cheap shot.
“Most people have gotten enraged, and they have donated to me since this came out,” he said.
Goldmacher lives in Poinciana, and is a small business owner who runs JAG Associates of Florida, a property management firm. This year, he tossed his hat into the ring to run for the Osceola County District 3 commission seat now held by Democrat Brandon Arrington.
But to get to the November ballot, Goldmacher first needs to win the Republican primary.
Arrington is being challenged by Marta Moczó-Santiago in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary, while Ferentinos, Goldmacher and Ivan Rivera are seeking the Republican nomination. The winners of the two primaries advance to the November general election.
Goldmacher said he was a bit taken aback when he first saw the anti-Goldmacher postcard that reads, Vote for Decency, Don’t Vote for Jeff Goldmacher because he’s a nudist and an atheist.
The postcard includes photos of naked men – another desperation tactic, Goldmacher said.
“Both of those pictures are not of me,” Goldmacher said, then jokingly added, “One of the pictures had a guy with a lot more hair than me.”
Goldmacher believes the nudist allegation comes from the fact that he lives at the Cypress Cove Resort and Spa in Poinciana.
“I do live in a clothing-optional resort,” Goldmacher said, but added that his platform is to spur more economic development and bring more light manufacturing to the region, and not to promote nudity.
He even issued a disclaimer, noting “The photographs utilized in this mailer are not of me. I have never posed for any promotional piece for a nudist colony as claimed in the mailer. As a matter of interest, if the naked picture is me, then why did the originator of the postcard block out the face?”
The charge that he’s an atheist, Goldmacher, is just plain slander.
“I’m not an atheist,” he said. “I’m Jewish. I believe in the Golden Rule. I don’t belong to a temple or synagogue, and there’s only one in this area, anyway. I’m not someone who believes in organized religion. I like to practice my religion my way.”
Ferentinos, who runs a used car business, could not be reached for comment.
Goldmacher said he hopes to put the campaign focus back onto the issues in the final days of the campaign.
“I ask District 3 voters to examine our platforms,” he noted. “If you do that, you will discover that my platform is realistic and a financially sound one that will lead Osceola County back to prosperity.”
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