State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, leaves public office Tuesday after nine years in the
"There are an awful lot of people out there who are not elected officials. I just joined the ranks again," she said in a telephone interview. "I'm going to figure out how to continue to make a difference in the process because I love it. There's still a lot of work to be done. I'm going to continue to advocate."
Bogdanoff, 53, lost one of the most contentious races in Florida last week. Voters in Broward and Palm Beach counties decided they wanted state Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, as their voice in Tallahassee.
It was an unusual race occasioned by the once-a-decade redistricting of legislative districts. After courts rejected a map created by
Sachs won 53 percent of the vote to 47 percent for Bogdanoff. The results mean overwhelmingly Democratic Broward won't have a voice in the majority party in the Florida Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
Bogdanoff, a lawyer, said she'd rev up her consulting business and mediation practice.
Eventually, she might consider paid lobbying, but Bogdanoff said it isn't something she's contemplating now. Any advocacy will be on behalf of issues she's interested in, such as criminal justice reform, one of her priorities in the Legislature.
She said she couldn't single out a single program or law that made her especially proud of her tenure.
"So much. So much. I look back, regardless of the results of the election, I feel very good about my legislative career. I've accomplished a lot. I was a very strong voice for Broward and Palm Beach counties," she said. "I feel good. I had more work to do. But I accomplished a lot and feel good about it.
"I don't think there's any one, particular issue. It's the smaller things that you do that matter as an elected official," she said. "You don't realize until you go out into the community how many lives that you've touched…. That's probably the most rewarding part of being an elected official."
Bogdanoff lost a 1996 race for the School Board against Miriam Oliphant. (Oliphant went on to become the famously controversial Broward supervisor of elections. Then-Gov.
Bogdanoff also lost a 1998 state Senate race to Steve Geller, who went on to become the minority party leader in the Senate.
In 2004, she won a special election to the Florida House and was re-elected until she won a promotion to the Florida Senate in 2010.
The week after losing the Senate race she said she's not thinking about running for office again.
"I am contemplating spending time with my family, making a living and taking some vacation. I am not contemplating anything else. I was elected for eight years. But I had a very fulfilling life before and I will have a very fulfilling life after," she said. "I have always been a person that has enjoyed a variety in my life. And I am going to really enjoy what I am going to do next. I can't honestly tell you what that may be."
As a Republican leader, she supported presidential candidates who were seen as more moderate and weren’t darlings of the conservative wing:
Here's her prescription for the Republican Party: "Our party has to get the message out that we are the party of being fiscally conservative. We're the party of strong national security. And we are the party that needs to keep government in check when it becomes too overreaching, in all aspects," she said.