Stung by divorce, Nick Loeb dropping state Senate bid and pledging full refund to contributorsby George Bennett | October 13th, 2009
DELRAY BEACH — Saying he can’t run for office while going through a divorce, Nick Loeb is terminating his state Senate bid and pledging to spend more than $100,000 of his own money to give full refunds to everyone who contributed to his campaign.
Loeb, a Republican who had former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani come to Palm Beach County to headline a May fund-raiser, said he collected more than $300,000 in contributions and spent more than $100,000 on his campaign for the Palm Beach-Broward legislative seat of Senate President Jeff Atwater, who’s running for chief financial officer in 2010.
Loeb’s wife, Anna, filed for divorce this month. Nick Loeb said he and his wife have been separated since July, when he said Anna Loeb reconnected with an old boyfriend while she was visiting her native Sweden.
Anna Loeb’s attorney, Michael Walsh, was not immediately reachable this afternoon to comment on Nick Loeb’s version events.
“I wish things could be different. This is not what I wanted. I have tried to reconcile but this is what she wants,” Nick Loeb said.
“I didn’t think it’s very fair to my supporters to run a campaign while I go through a divorce at the same time,” Loeb said while sitting in the living room of his 4,400-square-foot house on Lake Ida. The room was cluttered with boxes of what Loeb said are belongings his wife wants shipped to her.
Loeb’s departure from the Senate race comes as no surprise to politics watchers. Since at least August, when Anna Loeb was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Boca Raton, there’s been little evidence of a Loeb campaign.
The wealthy and politically connected Loeb, son of former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark and UN delegate John Loeb, originally filed to run for a state House seat in the spring. But he switched to the Senate race in May after Atwater announced he was running for CFO. He faced a tough GOP primary against state Reps. Carl Domino of Jupiter and Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale. Democratic state Rep. Kelly Skidmore of Boca Raton is also running for the District 25 Senate seat.
When a candidate terminates a campaign, he can give unused money to charity or his political party or return contributions on a pro-rata basis to donors. Rather than give contributors a partial refund, Loeb said he plans to put more than $100,000 of his own money into his campaign before formally shutting it down so he can give 100 percent refunds.
Loeb said he plans to remain in South Florida and concentrate on his consulting business that helps clients increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Loeb, who lost a 2005 campaign for Delray Beach city commission, didn’t rule out return to politics sometime in the future, but said, “I just need some time for myself to get through this ordeal.”