Attention voters: ‘The schlepper bags are on the way’

State Rep. Lori Berman (left) and former state Rep. Irving Slosberg have opened campaigns for a Senate District 31 special election. State Rep. David Silvers (right) says he’s in “no rush” to decide.

Gov. Rick Scott has not yet set a date for a special election to replace Democrat Jeff Clemens in a Palm Beach County state Senate district, but state Rep. Lori Berman and former state Rep. Irving Slosberg have already opened campaigns to begin raising and spending money on a race.

Democrats Berman and Slosberg both filed papers in Tallahassee this week to run for the Senate District 31 seat, which became vacant when Clemens resigned after admitting to an affair with a lobbyist. Because a special election hasn’t been set, Berman and Slosberg opened campaigns for 2020, when the seat was next scheduled for an election.

Voters in Florida Senate District 31 will choose a replacement for Democratic Sen. Jeff Clemens.

“The schlepper bags are on the way,” said Slosberg, referring to the giveaway canvas bags that became a signature of his initial run for state House in 2000.

Democratic state Rep. David Silvers is described by his consultant, Rick Asnani, as “very interested” in the special election.

“I have yet to make a decision and I am in no rush,” Silvers said Friday.

Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein, a Democrat, gave serious consideration to running in the special election but said Friday he won’t be a candidate.

“I want to finish out my final term as mayor without the distraction of a political campaign,” said Glickstein, who recently announced he won’t seek re-election as mayor in March.

The district is heavily Democratic but Palm Beach County Republican Vice Chairwoman Tami Donnally said she is considering a run.

 

Clemens’ Senate constituents could go unrepresented for entire 2018 session

Former Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens’ abrupt resignation leaves Senate District 31 without representation — possibly through the entire 2018 legislative session.

The vacancy created by Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens‘ abrupt resignation last week could leave his District 31 constituents without representation in the Senate for the entire 2018 legislative session.

Clemens, who was in line to become the Senate’s top Democrat next November, stepped down Friday after news emerged of an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

The 2018 legislative session is scheduled for Jan. 9 to March 9. Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, in a Monday email to the Florida Division of Elections, has suggested a special Jan. 30 primary and special April 10 general election to fill Clemens’ District 31 seat.

Gov. Rick Scott will have the final say on setting special election dates.

District 31 is so heavily Democratic (a 46.6-to-24.1 percent registration advantage over the GOP) that Republicans didn’t even field a candidate for the seat last year.

If no Republican, minor-party candidate or write-in candidate files for the special election, the Democratic primary would fill the seat. Under Bucher’s suggested timetable, District 31 would then have a Democratic senator for the final 39 days of the 2018 session.

But don’t expect Republicans to pass up this race. With a low turnout special election, Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Michael Barnett says, “it’ll be tough but I think we’ll have a shot.”

County GOP Vice Chairwoman Tami Donnally, who lost state House races in 2010 and 2012 in Democrat-tilted districts, says she’s considering a run for the Senate seat.

Even if Republicans don’t win the District 31 seat, the mere presence of a Republican on the special election ballot could mean Democrats have only 15 senators instead of 16 throughout the upcoming session. There are 24 Senate Republicans.

Two Democrats — state Rep. Lori Berman and former state Rep. Irving Slosberg — have said they will run in District 31. Two other Dems — state Rep. David Silvers and Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein — are possible candidates as well.

 

 

State Rep. Lori Berman confirms she’ll run for Clemens’ Senate seat

Four Dems to watch in upcoming special Senate District 31 election (clockwise from top left): former state Rep. Irving Slosberg, state Rep. Lori Berman, state Rep. David Silvers, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein.

State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, confirmed today that she will abandon a Palm Beach County commission bid to run in a special election to replace state Sen. Jeff Clemens, the Atlantis Democrat who abruptly resigned Friday after admitting to an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

Former Democratic state Rep. Irving Slosberg has also said he’ll run for Clemens’ former seat. Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein is considering the race and Democratic state Rep. David Silvers is another strong possibility.

Gov. Rick Scott has not yet set a date for the election to replace Clemens in Democrat-leaning Senate District 31, which is generally east of Florida’s Turnpike from Lake Worth to Delray Beach.

Berman’s announcement statement notes that only 13 of Florida’s 40 Senators are women.

Said Berman: “We’re in the midst of a watershed moment in the struggle for women’s rights across this country and one of the key motivators in my decision to do this is our state’s need for a champion on issues ranging from pay equity to healthcare and reproductive rights to freedom from sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. My message is simple: now more than ever, women need a strong voice in the Florida Senate.”

Berman, facing House term limits next year, had opened a 2018 campaign for a Palm Beach County commission seat and was the leading fundraiser in the commission District 2 race. Four other Democrats — Alex Garcia, Emmanuel Morel, Sylvia Sharps and Gregg Weiss — are running for that seat. At least one other Democrat, attorney Dodger Arp of West Palm Beach, is weighing the race now that Berman is leaving.

State Rep. Lori Berman mulls run for Clemens’ Senate seat; Abruzzo out

Four Dems to watch in upcoming special Senate District 31 election (clockwise from top left): former state Rep. Irving Slosberg, state Rep. Lori Berman, state Rep. David Silvers, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein.

Facing House term limits in Tallahassee, state Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, launched a 2018 campaign for an open Palm  Beach County commission seat in May and raised $76,672 through the end of September.

But Berman now appears likely to abandon her commission campaign and run instead in a special election for the District 31 state Senate seat that suddenly became open on Friday when Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, abruptly resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair.

Look for Berman to announce her plans Monday.

Former Democratic state Rep. Irving Slosberg, who lost a 2016 primary challenge to Clemens, has already said he plans to run in the not-yet-scheduled special election to fill Clemens’ Democrat-leaning seat.

Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein said he is “going to take a serious look” at the special Senate race as well.

And don’t rule out Democratic state Rep. David Silvers, though Silvers on Friday night said it was too early to make a decision.

State Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, a former state senator, was also mentioned as a potential District 31 candidate, but said today he will not run.

Within 3 hours of Clemens’ Senate resignation, Dem says he’s running

Four Democrats to watch in Senate District 31: Former state Rep. Irving Slosberg says he’s running, Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein says he’s looking, state Reps. Joseph Abruzzo and David Silvers say it’s too soon to contemplate.’

That didn’t take long.

Less than three hours after Atlantis Democrat Jeff Clemens resigned from his state Senate seat after admitting to an extramarital affair, former state Rep. and 2016 Clemens primary rival Irving Slosberg said he will run in the special election to replace Clemens.

UPDATE: See the latest on who’s in, out in District 31

Voters in Florida Senate District 31 will choose a replacement for Democratic Sen. Jeff Clemens, who resigned Friday.

Clemens, who had been in line to become Senate Democratic leader next year, announced his resignation a few minutes after 5 p.m. after Politico reported in the morning that he’d had an affair with a lobbyist.

“I’m in,” Slosberg told The Palm Beach Post at 7:26 p.m. on Friday.

Gov. Rick Scott has not yet set a date for a special election to replace Clemens in Senate District 31, which runs from Lake Worth to Delray Beach generally east of Florida’s Turnpike. Democrats hold a 46.6-to-24.1 percent registration advantage over Republicans in the district.

Slosberg could have company in a special Democratic primary.

Delray Beach Mayor Cary Glickstein, who recently announced he won’t seek re-election in the upcoming March municipal election, said he’s “going to take a serious look” at the Senate District 31 seat.

Two Democratic state House members — Reps. Joseph Abruzzo and David Silvers — are also worth keeping an eye on. Both said Friday that it’s too soon to consider a campaign.

Slosberg gave up his state House seat last year to challenge Clemens in a Democratic Senate primary. Clemens won with 52.3 percent to 32.4 percent for Slosberg while Emmanuel Morel got 15.2 percent.

Irving Slosberg is the father of state Rep. Emily Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, who ran for her dad’s old seat last year.