Boca Raton mayor weighs GOP bid in district where Clinton beat Trump

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie with Gov. Rick Scott in 2016. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie appears close to launching a 2018 Republican campaign for the coastal District 4 seat of term-limited Palm Beach County Commissioner Steven Abrams.

“I am considering it and I will be making my decision shortly,” Haynie told PostOnPolitics. She later said “shortly” means within the next 30 to 60 days.

Palm Beach County Commission District 4 includes southern coastal communities and all of Boca Raton.

Abrams is one of only two Republicans on the seven-member commission.

District 4 is 35 percent Republican and 34.4 percent Democrat. Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the district with 49.9 percent of the vote to 46.2 percent for Republican Donald Trump last November.

In 2014, Democrat Charlie Crist beat Republican Gov. Rick Scott in District 4 by a 50.2-to-45.7 percent margin.

But in a county race, Haynie’s Boca connection could be more important than partisan factors.

She has held nonpartisan office for 15 of the last 17 years in Boca Raton, which makes up 44 percent of the electorate in County Commission District 4. Abrams was also a Boca Raton mayor before being appointed to the commission in 2009, then winning elections in 2010 and 2014.

The open seat in a midterm election year — when the party out of the White House typically makes gains — should draw some Democratic interest.

Democrat Andy Thomson, an attorney who lost a March bid for Boca Raton city council, is one potential candidate for the county commission seat. But Thomson says he’s also looking at another council bid in Boca.

“We’re working on it,” Democratic Club of Boca-Delray board member Mark Alan Siegel said of his party’s efforts to recruit a commission candidate.

Melissa McKinlay begins fundraising for 2018 commission re-election bid

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay on election night in 2014 (Bill Ingram/The Palm Beach Post)

Democratic Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who quietly opened a re-election campaign for her western-county District 6 seat earlier this month, has begun hitting up supporters for campaign cash.

 

She’s the first commission candidate to open a 2018 campaign. McKinlay’s seat and two others will be on the ballot next year. District 2 Commissioner Paulette Burdick and District 4 Commissioner Steven Abrams face term limits in 2018.

 

McKinlay was elected to the commission in 2014. In 2015, she opened a campaign for Congress — then pulled out of the race after deep-pocketed businessman Randy Perkins got in. Perkins won the Democratic nomination but lost to Republican Brian Mast.

 

A McKinlay fundraising email says she hopes to raise $38,000 by April 30. The election is more than 19 months away, but, her email says, “this is an important time to show potential challengers that we are up to the task – and that you are on my side.”