Freshman state Rep. David Silvers, D-West Palm Beach, said today he has decided not to run in the special election to replace former Democratic Sen. Jeff Clemens in a Palm Beach County Senate district.
“My work’s not done here in House District 87,” Silvers said today. “To be here is an absolute honor. I love what I’m doing.”
Two other Democrats — state Rep. Lori Berman and former state Rep. Irving Slosberg — have already launched campaigns for the Democrat-leaning seat. County Republican Vice Chairwoman Tami Donnally has also expressed interest in running.
Democrats hold a 46.6-to-24.1 percent registration advantage in Clemens’ old District 31, so his replacement will most likely be another Democrat. So Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittelurged Scott to schedule a special election “immediately” to seat a new senator in time for the 2018 legislative session, which runs Jan. 9 to March 9.
Scott, however ordered a Jan. 30 primary and April 10 general election. If Republicans make good on Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Michael Barnett‘s prediction that his party will field a candidate, that means the District 31 seat won’t be filled until after the regular session and Republicans will maintain a 24-15 advantage in the chamber until then.
The dates Scott chose were suggested by Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher — a liberal Democratic state House member before she won the nonpartisan elections post.
Two Democrats — state Rep. Lori Berman and former state Rep. Irving Slosberg — have opened campaigns in District 31 and Democratic state Rep. David Silvers is another possible candidate. County GOP Vice Chairwoman Tami Donnally is also considering the race.
Gov. Rick Scotthas 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.
“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.
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, 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.
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.
“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.
Not that there was any real suspense, but David Silvers and Al Jacquet have now been officially elected to the Florida House of Representatives, Mack Bernard has been elected to the Palm Beach County commission and Katherine Waldron has won a seat on the Port of Palm Beach commission.
The four candidates — all Democrats — officially won their seats during the past week when write-in candidates who had qualified to run against them in the Nov. 8 general election withdrew from the races, according to the Palm Beach County elections office.
Silvers, Jacquet, Bernard and Waldron could all safely begin measuring the drapes for their new offices after they won Democratic primaries on Aug. 30. No Republicans or independent candidates qualified to appear on the general election ballot against them.
But because write-in candidates also filed for those races, the Democratic primary winners were scheduled to go through the formality of having their names on the Nov. 8 ballot along with a blank space for voters to write in another candidate’s name.
Under Florida law, when all the candidates for an office are from the same party and the winner would have no opposition in the general election, the primary becomes a “universal primary” open to all voters regardless of party affiliation. For instance, when Democrats Kevin Rader and Mindy Koch were the only candidates for the state Senate District 29 seat, their Aug. 30 race became open to Republicans and other voters in the district rather than just Democrats.
Partisan Democrats and Republicans usually try to block voters from rival parties from participating in their primaries. Because write-ins automatically run in the general election, the presence of a write-in negates a universal primary and limits the race to voters of a single party.
That’s what happened in House District 87 when Silvers and two other Democrats were the only candidates to qualify for the ballot and Daniel N. Perez qualified as a write-in. Perez’s candidacy prevented Republicans and no-party voters from voting in the District 87 primary. Then Perez withdrew his candidacy last Thursday, leaving Silver unopposed.
Similarly, Jacquet and two other Democrats were the only candidates to qualify for the ballot in House District 88. Sebrina Gillion‘s write-in candidacy blocked Republicans and other voters from participating in the Aug. 30 primary. Gillion withdrew last Wednesday, leaving Jacquet unopposed.
In the county commission District 7 race, Bernard and three other Democrats ran on Aug. 30. Write-in Rhonda Patton blocked non-Democrats from having a say. Patton withdrew after the primary.
In the Port of Palm Beach Group 2 race, not one but two write-ins — Joseph Anderson and Pamela Williams — assured that only Democratic voters could participate in the primary between Waldron and three other Democrats. After Waldron’s Aug. 30 primary win, both Anderson and Williams withdrew.