A Florida Senate committee appointed to review a challenge to West Palm Beach Democratic state Sen. Bobby Powell’s election has been dissolved after Powell’s Republican rival, Ron Berman, withdrew his contest of the result.
Powell defeated Berman with 54.1 percent of the vote in the Nov. 8 election for the northern Palm Beach County District 30 seat. But Berman filed a notice of contest on Nov. 21 because Ruben Anderson, a Democrat who never made the primary ballot because of a bounced qualifying check, had filed a lawsuit seeking a new Democratic primary that included him on the ballot.
Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis dismissed Anderson’s suit in December, saying he did not have jurisdiction to decide whether Powell should be seated and that it was up to the Senate to decide.
Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, in December appointed a five-member credentials committee to review the case beginning on Thursday. But Negron dissolved the committee today, noting that Berman had withdrawn his notice of contest over the weekend.
Berman opened a campaign for Palm Beach Gardens city council on Dec. 20 — but he hasn’t ruled out another run for Senate in 2018.
“I believe that there was a good possibility to have a new election and believe I could have won, and I also believe had Mr. Anderson been in the original race, things may have worked out differently,” Berman said in a statement today on his dropping the contest to the 2016 election.
“Mr. Powell himself didn’t violate anyone’s rights, and I also don’t think that the taxpayers should bear the burden of a special election, nor be without representation during the forthcoming legislative session this spring. We fell a little short in the Senate race in this newly drawn district and I will make a decision later this year, whether I will run again next year to have the opportunity to represent all of the great communities in District 30,” Berman said.