Democratic Congressman Moskowitz endorses, then un-endorses, Republican School Board member Alston

Congressman Jared Moskowitz’s endorsement of Broward School Board member Torey Alston generated an uproar among some key Democratic constituencies. On Tuesday, Moskowitz withdrew his endorsement.

Democrat Moskowitz knows Republican Alston well; they served together as appointees on the same commission.

But some Democratic Party activists in Broward were outraged when they learned of the Moskowitz endorsement in recent days — and of a flyer that listed Alston as among the people scheduled to appear at a chapter of the conservative Moms for Liberty, which is loathed by many Democrats.

Moskowitz is the highest-profile Democrat listed as a supporter of Alston on the School Board candidate’s website. Having succeeded in getting Moskowitz to withdraw his endorsement, Democratic activists said they want other elected officials from their party to do the same.

Some have already done so, said Alfredo Olvera, Broward’s state Democratic committeeman, and Charles Horowitz, a board member of the Florida Democratic Party Jewish Caucus.

School Board seats are officially nonpartisan, but both political parties have often been involved in supporting candidates who are members of their parties.

“It’s a call to action for all Democrats,” Olvera said. “School board elections, even though they are nonpartisan, it is very clear where the party aligns with every single one of the School Board members.”

Alston said his endorsements from Democrats come from “people who know me, who know my issues, and know that I am independent minded. … That’s what has so many extreme activists agitated.”


Alston is well known in political circles in Broward, and he has held a variety of important jobs.

In 2021, he and Moskowitz were appointed at the same time by Gov. Ron DeSantis to fill two vacancies on the Broward County Commission.

Earlier they both worked in DeSantis administration jobs; Moskowitz as director of emergency management and Alston as chief of staff at the Florida Department of Transportation. He is currently executive director of the Greater Miami Expressway Agency.

In 2022, he resigned from the County Commission when DeSantis appointed him to the School Board. He’s now running for election to the School Board.

“I am excited about the support that I have received from Democrats, Republicans and NPAs (independents) who know me very well, and who know all of my issues align with Broward families. Any comments to the contrary are clearly political and an attempt to add partisanship into the School board races,” Alston said. “There should be no partisanship on the School Board, and I have been very clear about that.”

Alston faces Democrat Rebecca Lynne Larew Thompson in the Aug. 20 election, which is open to all voters.

Moms for Liberty

Moms for Liberty produces deep political reactions.

Olvera, who is also president of the LGBTQ+ Dolphin Democrats political club, said Moms for Liberty is “such a dangerous group for the School Board.”

Horowitz said Jewish caucus members mobilized immediately after learning of the Moskowitz endorsement and Alston’s appearance on a Moms for Liberty flyer advertising a Tuesday night meeting with an array of candidates for Broward School board.

“We’ve seen that Moms for Liberty has proven itself to be an extremist group,” Horowitz said, citing its listing as an “extremist group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the liberal activist group, an Indiana chapter using a quote attributed to Adolf Hitler in a newsletter last year. (The Indiana chapter later apologized.)

“We’re extremely concerned about normalization of this rhetoric, especially as Jewish Americans living in Broward County. We want our education system to be free of people who support this hateful rhetoric,” Horowitz said.

Moms for Liberty’s Broward chapter, in a statement via text, said it is none of those things, describing itself as a nonpartisan organization advocating for parental rights in education.

“Moms for Liberty is a nonpartisan organization that advocates for parental rights in education. For too long, parents have been in the background, trusting our schools to teach our children reading, writing, and math — not to instruct them on social, moral, and religious issues. Parents have the fundamental right to determine the upbringing of their children, not the schools,” the statement said.

“Parents don’t want their children being taught about any sexuality while on school campuses. They don’t want their children exposed to gender ideology or to pornographic material in the school environment. Instead, parents want their children to be taught the fundamentals of education while being safe in their learning environment and they seek to hold their elected officials accountable,” Moms for Liberty said.

Moskowitz, serving his first term in Congress, after time in the Florida state House of Representatives and the Parkland City Commission, is Jewish and a leader in the Jewish community and has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community.

“I endorsed Torey, we worked together during COVID, he helped me out when my dad was sick. However, I have asked him not to use my name further as a result of the Mom’s for Liberty flyer,” Moskowitz said in a statement sent via a campaign representative.

County Commissioner Mark Bogen said via text he was “totally opposed to Moms for Liberty. … I will not be associated with any group or person that publicly or privately states they support Moms for Liberty.”

It’s unclear if the reason Democratic activists cited for pushback on their party’s elected officials  — Alston appearing before Moms for Liberty — was even going to happen.

The Moms for Liberty flyer, which was on the Broward chapter’s website Tuesday, named Alston and showed his picture — plus the names and pictures of four other School Board candidates — as scheduled to attend the group’s gathering that evening.

It is unclear if he was formally scheduled as a speaker and he said Tuesday afternoon that he would not be attending.

Going forward

The issue isn’t ending quite yet. Three people on both sides of the controversy said Alston already had a mailer in the works when the congressman asked that he no longer be listed as a supporter. That’s apparently already on its way to voters.

Horowitz said she was still working the phones Tuesday afternoon, and had secured commitments from two other Democratic elected officials that they would withdraw their support.

As of Tuesday afternoon, multiple Democrats were still listed on Alston’s website as supporters, including Moskowitz.

They included Broward County Commissioners Bogen, Robert McKenzie and Hazelle Rogers, state Rep. Patricia Williams and former state Rep. Bobby DuBose. DuBose is a former Democratic Party leader in the state House. The supporters also include a full complement of current and former Republican elected officials, mostly mayors and city commissioners.

Complicating the issue is that some listed “supporters” hadn’t formally “endorsed” Alston, which under Florida law comes with a legal requirement that it’s in writing.

Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor was earlier on the website’s list of supporters but was no longer there on Tuesday.

“Harold Pryor and Torey Alston have known each other for a long time. The state attorney never endorsed him. When he was made aware that he was listed as a supporter on the website, he reiterated that he never endorsed him. He asked Torey Alston to have his name removed from his website,” said Sean Phillippi, a consultant for Pryor’s reelection campaign.

Anthony Man can be reached at and can be found @browardpolitics on Bluesky, Threads, Facebook and Mastodon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.