Riviera Beach Democratic state Sen. Bobby Powell’s courtroom victory this week may not be the last word in whether he retains that seat.
A day after a judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking a re-do election for Powell’s seat, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, appointed a credentials committee Tuesday to consider to whether the Democrat should continue serving.
Powell’s Republican challenger, Ron Berman, filed the “contest” a day before the Democrat was sworn-in on Nov. 22. Powell carried 54 percent of the vote on Nov. 8 in defeating Berman.
Berman, though, unsuccessfully sought to stop Powell’s swearing-in since Ruben Anderson, a Democrat who never made the primary ballot because of a bounced qualifying check, had filed a lawsuit that was dismissed Monday by Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis.
Lewis said he did not have jurisdiction to decide whether Powell should be seated. Instead, Lewis said it was up to the Senate to decide.
The five-member Senate credentials committee appointed by Negron is chaired by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, who formerly represented the Wellington-area. The panel is comprised of three Republicans and two Democrats and is not expected to meet until January.