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Website detailed Heather Moraitis campaign for School Board. She says she hasn’t decided if she’s running.

Heather Moraitis, a former Fort Lauderdale city commissioner, said she hasn't made a decision about a 2024 candidacy for Broward School Board. A website touting her candidacy was online.
Heather Moraitis, a former Fort Lauderdale city commissioner, said she hasn’t made a decision about a 2024 candidacy for Broward School Board. A website touting her candidacy was online.
ֱ political reporter Anthony Man is photographed in the Deerfield Beach office on Monday, Oct. 26, 2023. (Amy Beth Bennett / South Florida ֱ)
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Heather Moraitis, a Republican who served four-plus years on the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, may be running for Broward School Board. Or maybe not.

Moraitis said Thursday she hasn’t made a decision. And she hasn’t filed any paperwork indicating a candidacy, something that’s required for someone to raise and spend money as a candidate in Florida.

Yet a robust “Heather Moraitis for Broward County School Board Because Experience Matters” was online.

“Stand with Heather and give our children the best education!” the website said. “Heather Moraitis for Broward County School Board A Vision for Children’s Dreams.”

Along with the disclaimer at the bottom of the page — “Paid by Heather Moraitis for Broward County School Board” — it featured a dozen photos, a biographical section, a pitch for contributions, a place to subscribe for campaign updates and a list of priorities.

By Thursday evening, a few hours after a reporter asked Moraitis about the website, it had been taken down, with people getting a 404 error message.

No decision

Moraitis said Thursday she doesn’t have a campaign committee, didn’t authorize the website, and hasn’t decided if she’s going to run.

She said she has spoken to people about possibly running.

“I have thought about running for School Board. I have not made any decisions,” she said.

She said the pictures and biographical material were all taken from an old, no-longer-operating website, adding she doesn’t know who created the new one. “I didn’t approve it. I didn’t put it up. It’s not my website.”

School Board candidates have until June 14 to qualify for the August ballot.

“I know when the qualifying date is and I know what I’d have to do,” she said. “Would I consider it? I’m considering all options.”

Another possibility: a 2026 campaign for state House of Representatives, when state Rep. Chip LaMarca, the only elected Republican in a partisan office in Broward, won’t be able to seek another term because of term limits.

Before LaMarca, Moraitis’s husband, George, served in the state House until term limits prevented him from running for reelection.

“George and I will definitely be in politics again one day. Either one of us. I just don’t know exactly what it looks like. I love education. I have a long history in education, supporting education initiatives in the city of Fort Lauderdale. I don’t know if it’s on the School Board or if it’s in the state House or if it’s another position.”

Familiar territory

If she runs, Moraitis said it would be in District 3, which is currently represented by School Board member Sarah Leonardi.

Leonardi is the only District 3 candidate who has filed paperwork with the Supervisor of Elections Office. Her latest campaign finance report shows she had a balance of $36,000 in her campaign account as of Dec. 31.

Leonardi, who was a teacher in Broward public high schools, was elected in 2020, narrowly defeating incumbent Heather Brinkworth, 52% to 48%.

Politics

Officially, School Board races are nonpartisan. But Leonardi is a well-known Democrat, just as Moraitis is a well-known Republican.

School Board races in Broward, as well as elsewhere in Florida and nationwide, have become much more contentious and far more political in recent years as boards have become battlegrounds over a range of issues, ranging from making policies during the COVID-19 pandemic, what books are appropriate for school libraries, and how to handle discussions of racial differences and LGBTQ issues.

Moraitis has extensive political experience in the district. The Fort Lauderdale commission district she represented from 2018 through 2022 lies in School Board District 3.

District 3 includes all or parts of Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Lazy Lake, North Lauderdale, ֱ Park, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Tamarac and Wilton Manors.

George Moraitis’ state House district also included much of the same East Broward territory. Heather Moraitis was heavily involved in her husband’s campaigns.

Departing

Heather Moraitis left the City Commission early, her resignation in April 2022 and leaving office in November 2022.

She said at the time she planned to spend more time with her family and return to her work in education.

At the time, people in the political world wondered if she’d run for School Board, something she disclaimed any interest in doing. “I am definitely not running for school board,” she said in April 2022. “My passion lies with charter schools. I don’t know what I’m going to do, believe it or not. I am open to exploring opportunities.”

Since leaving the commission, Moraitis said, she has taught advanced placement government and politics at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, which is affiliated with Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. She is a past director of development at Westminster Academy.

Her LinkedIn profile also shows she is a senior fellow at the Institute for Faith & Culture, which has the same address as Coral Ridge Presbyterian on Federal Highway in northeast Fort Lauderdale.

When she left the commission, she “wasn’t running for anything.”

“Right now, I’m supporting family members through some challenging health issues. And I’m going to make a decision soon,” she said.

Anthony Man can be reached at aman@sunsentinel.com and can be found @browardpolitics on Bluesky, Threads, Facebook and Post.news.

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