Berman rolls out big endorsements, Slosberg dismisses ‘political machine’ in special Senate race

A special election will fill the District 31 Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Jeff Clemens.

State Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, today rolled out several Democratic endorsements as she pursues the party’s nomination for a special state Senate election to replace Jeff Clemens in Palm Beach County.

State Rep. Lori Berman

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and former Democratic U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler (for whom Berman once worked) and Patrick Murphy are among those endorsing Berman as she vies against former state state Rep. Irving Slosberg and Arthur Morrison of West Palm Beach in a Jan. 30 primary. The seat is open because Clemens resigned in October after admitting to an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

Republican Party Vice Chairwoman Tami Donnally is also running for the heavily Democratic seat. The general election is April 10 — after the regular 2018 legislative session ends.

Berman, serving her fourth term in the state House, announced endorsements from 27 state lawmakers, including Palm Beach County Democratic state Sens. Bobby Powell and Kevin Rader and state Rep. Matt Willhite of Wellington.

“Lori is a true progressive leader, a tireless fighter for women’s rights, and will make an excellent State Senator. I am proud to endorse her,” said Deutch.

Former state Rep. Irving Slosberg

Slosberg downplayed Berman’s endorsements.

“It’s Irv Slosberg vs. the political machine — again,” Slosberg said.

Slosberg took on the Democratic machine and won in 2000, ousting former Rep. Curt Levine to win a House seat. The machine got its revenge in 2006 when Deutch, making his first run for office, got the backing of many party leaders and defeated Slosberg in a state Senate primary. Slosberg won a House seat again in 2010, but left in 2016 to challenge the party establishment again; he lost a bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Clemens.

Said Slosberg: “I just want the endorsements of the people.”

 

 

 

Rep. David Silvers will not run in special Senate election to replace Clemens

A special election will fill the District 31 Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Jeff Clemens.

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.

State Rep. Lori Berman and former state Rep. Irving Slosberg are vying for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 31. Democratic Rep. David Silvers (right) has decided not to run.

Gov. Rick Scott has set a Jan. 30 primary date and April 10 general election to fill the District 31 Senate seat, which runs generally east of Florida’s Turnpike from Lake Worth to Delray Beach.

“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.

Clemens, in line to become the Senate’s top Democrat next year, resigned Oct. 27 after admitting to having an affair with a lobbyist.

 

Shocker! Gov. Rick Scott rejects Dem chair’s plea on special election date

One of these Democrats — state Rep. Lori Berman, former state Rep. Irving Slosberg or state Rep. David Silvers — could be the next state senator in District 31, but probably not in time for the 2018 legislative session.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday set the dates for a special primary and general election to replace Palm Beach County Democrat Jeff Clemens in the Florida Senate.

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 Bittel urged 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.

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.

 

Next stop for Irv Slosberg: Tallahassee office for Slosberg Foundation

Even not winning his re-election bid can’t keep former state Rep. Irv Slosberg out of Tallahassee.

Slosberg said Friday he will go to Florida’s Capitol to represent the Dori Slosberg Foundation — a nonprofit he founded after his daughter was killed in a violent car crash in Boca Raton 20 years ago — before the state Legislature.

Irv Slosberg speaks at the Dori Saves Lives "Staying Alive on Florida's Roadways," event in Boynton Beach on June 4, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Irv Slosberg speaks at the Dori Saves Lives “Staying Alive on Florida’s Roadways,” event in Boynton Beach on June 4, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Florida state law bans former legislators from representing another person, organization or business for compensation for two years following their departure from office. But Slosberg says he’s received the thumbs-up from the Florida Commission on Ethics, which can make exceptions to the law on a case-by-case basis.

Speaking at a Slosberg Foundation event on Friday in Boca Raton, Slosberg said working with the foundation in Tallahassee will allow him to continue working to improve traffic safety in Florida.

“We’re ready to fight, because unfortunately that’s what this takes,” he said.

The foundation’s new office will open Jan. 1 on Monroe Street in Tallahassee, giving the foundation “headquarters both in Boca Raton and Tallahassee,” Slosberg noted.

» RELATED: Mother’s powerful story will make you think twice about driving drunk or high

 

TV spending in Florida Senate races second in nation; Slosberg spent most in state

Spending in Florida Senate races ranked second in the nation.
Spending in Florida Senate races ranked second in the nation.

Television ad spending in Florida Senate races ranked second among the nation’s legislative contests, with Boca Raton Democrat Irv Slosberg spending the most of any candidate in the state, a new report shows.

The Center for Public Integrity’s review of TV spending in the last campaign shows that $17.9 million was spent on more than 29,000 spots in Florida Senate contests. All 40 seats were up for grabs this year, but far fewer attracted big spending.

The Florida numbers were second only to the $26.2 million spent airing TV ads for Illinois state House seats.

Slosberg, a House member defeated in the August primary after challenging incumbent Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Atlantis, spent $817,290 on TV, according to CPI’s analysis. That was almost double the second-place individual spending of $477,470 by trial lawyer Michael Steinger of Palm Beach Gardens, who lost to newly elected Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach.

In Florida, the biggest TV spending was done by party-related committees.

The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee poured $7.1 million into more than 10,000 TV ads; almost double the $3.8 million spent by the Florida Democratic Party to help its candidates.

Florida Republicans now command 25 of the Senate’s 40 seats, down one from where they were before the elections.