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Rep. Maria Sachs to run for Deutch’s state Senate seat — if it’s open

Friday, October 23rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Sachs

Sachs

State Rep. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, today made it as official as possible: she’s running for the state Senate seat of Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, if Deutch wins the special congressional election to replace U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton.

Because of a 2007 change to Florida’s resign-to-run law, Deutch doesn’t have to give up his Senate seat to run for Congress unless he wins the special election expected in early 2010. If Deutch wins, Sachs said she’ll run for his Senate seat. Sachs said she’s hired a political consultant for the potential Senate race: Eric Johnson, who is Wexler’s chief of staff and political consultant and who is consulting for Deutch’s congressional bid.

Palm Beach County Dem chairman says party leaders back Deutch in special congressional race

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by George Bennett

About 30 members of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party’s Policy Committee were unanimous Tuesday night in backing state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, in a special congressional election, county Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel says.

Deutch is the best-known Palm Beach County candidate who has announced for the Palm Beach-Broward seat of U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, who’s leaving in January to head a Middle East-focused think tank.

Another well-known Palm Beach County Democrat — West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel — is also considering the race.

Asked about Frankel, Siegel said: “As good as she is, and as great a representative as she would make, I don’t think she would find any support among the organized ranks of the party.”

The Democratic party’s policy committee includes top party officials, “zone leaders” responsible for get-out-the-vote efforts and presidents of Democratic clubs. A formal vote wasn’t taken, Siegel said, because of party rules against making endorsements in primaries.

Endorsement pile-up: 15 Palm Beach County elected Dems back Deutch for Congress

Monday, October 19th, 2009 by George Bennett

Fifteen elected Democrats from Palm Beach County are slated to appear this morning with state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, to show their support for his special-election bid for the congressional seat of think tank-bound U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton.

The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. outside the Palm Beach County Governmental Center — a block or so away from the office of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who’s considering entering the congressional race herself.

In addition to Frankel, the other big question mark is Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter.

Read the list of Deutch’s endorsers after the jump…..

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Time-delayed dominoes: Wexler leaving; Deutch running; Sachs, Slosberg, others eyeing Senate

Monday, October 19th, 2009 by George Bennett

With U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, resigning in January, state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, has announced he’ll run in the special election to replace Wexler. That has state Rep. Maria Sachs and others eyeing Deutch’s Senate seat — which will only be open if Deutch wins the congressional race.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column…..

Special election to fill Wexler congressional seat could cost $600,000 in Palm Beach County

Friday, October 16th, 2009 by George Bennett

Bucher

Bucher

A special election to replace U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, will cost Palm Beach County about $600,0000, Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher says. And if state Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, wins that election, Bucher estimates it could cost another $500,000 to hold a special election to fill Deutch’s Senate seat.

Wexler is leaving in January, midway through his seventh term, to head the nonprofit Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.

Under state law, the county can recover special election costs from the state. But the reimbursements won’t come until July 1 at the earliest and could take longer, Florida Department of State spokeswoman Jennifer Krell Davis said.

Palm Beach County has already submitted requests for about $246,000 to recover expenses from special elections this summer to fill a state Senate vacancy and an open state House seat.

Bucher’s estimates for the special congressional and state Senate elections assume there is both a primary and general election for each seat. Both districts run into Broward County. Bucher didn’t estimate costs there.

Broward state Sen. Jeremy Ring won’t run for Wexler’s Palm Beach-dominated congressional seat

Friday, October 16th, 2009 by George Bennett

Ring

Ring

State Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Coral Springs, said this morning he will not enter the special election to replace U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton.

“I gave this really serious consideration and I enjoy my life as it is,” said Ring, who said serving in Congress would disrupt his family life.

The Broward County resident also noted that 71 percent of congressional District 19 voters live in Palm Beach County.

“Not that it’s not winnable, but it’s primarily a Palm Beach seat,” Ring said.

Ring, a wealthy former Yahoo executive, was considered a potentially formidable candidate because of his ability to pour personal money into an expected short campaign.

State Sen. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, former Broward County Mayor Ben Graber and Jose Ruiz, all Democrats, have announced their intentions to run. Wexler is stepping down in January to head a Middle East-focused think tank.

Battle of the Wexler proteges?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 by George Bennett

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, was instrumental in getting little-known Democrats Ted Deutch and Jeremy Ring elected to the state Senate in 2006.

Now the Wexler proteges could battle each other for their mentor’s congressional seat.

Boca Raton Sen. Deutch and Coral Springs Sen. Ring are among the half dozen or more Democrats who might enter a special election for Wexler’s Palm Beach-Broward congressional seat when Wexler steps down in January to head a Middle East think tank.

Wexler remains close to Deutch and Ring, but a Democratic insider said Wexler is likely to endorse Deutch as his replacement.

Other prominent Democrats eyeing the race include West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter, former Broward Mayor Ben Graber and former Boca Raton state Rep. Irving Slosberg.

The winner of the Democratic primary will likely claim the seat in a district where Democrats hold more than a 2-to-1 registration edge over Republicans and no GOP candidate has received more than 34.4 percent since 1996.

Primary and general election dates will be set after Gov. Charlie Crist receives a resignation letter from Wexler.

Graber, who got 6.6 percent against Wexler last year as a no-party candidate, announced today he will run as a Democrat in the special election.

Other potential candidates said they were in soul-searching mode.

“I have to talk to my friends and family and see what’s in my heart,” said Frankel.

“I am talking to community members, I am talking to leaders all across my district and most importantly I am talking to my family,” said Deutch, who expects to make an announcement Thursday.

Ring said he is “absolutely investigating it, considering it. I should have a decision this weekend.”

Ritter said she’ll make a decision next week.

With about 71 percent of District 19 voters in Palm Beach County, Broward candidates Ring and Ritter both said they would have to analyze whether multiple Broward candidates would hurt each other and maximize Palm Beach County’s advantage.

Wexler likely to back Deutch, Democratic source says

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 by George Bennett

Deutch

Deutch

U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, will probably back state Sen. Ted Deutch in the special election to fill Wexler’s congressional seat, a knowledgeable Democratic source says.

Wexler himself wasn’t ready to make any endorsements today as he confirmed he’s leaving Congress in the middle of his seventh term to become president of the nonprofit Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation.

Wexler has a long history of getting involved in Democratic primaries and other local races. His most memorable activity was probably his successful 2004 effort to topple former elections chief Theresa LePore and install Arthur Anderson. Wexler later cooled on Anderson and was neutral when Anderson lost his reelection bid last year to Susan Bucher.

In 2006, Wexler backed Deutch in a Democratic state Senate primary and helped him defeat better-known, better-financed state Rep. Irving Slosberg. At the same time, Wexler was instrumental in Jeremy Ring’s victory over Ben Graber in a Democratic state Senate primary in Broward County. Now Deutch and Ring are among the candidates considering running for Wexler’s congressional seat.

Wexler hinted he’ll make an endorsement soon.

“I have been known to get involved in primaries before, both to people’s happiness and chagrin…I’ve done it before. I care deeply about the person who will replace me and lead this community in Congress, so we’ll leave that for another day,” Wexler said.

Wexler to leave Congress for Middle East-focused nonprofit, Democratic sources say

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 by George Bennett

Wexler

Wexler

Seven-term U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, has told South Florida Democratic insiders he will resign from Congress to take a job with a nonprofit that promotes peace in the Middle East.

Wexler, 48, is to discuss his timetable for leaving office and other details publicly Wednesday morning after speaking to several Democrats individually this week and in a conference call tonight.

Wexler’s departure is likely to set off a scramble among Democrats to replace him in a special election in an overwhelmingly Democratic Palm Beach-Broward congressional district with a large population of Jewish and senior voters.

Among the potential candidates: state Sens. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Jeremy Ring of Coral Springs, West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, former Boca Raton state Rep. Irving Slosberg, Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter and former Broward Mayor Ben Graber.

Ring, who said Wexler told him Monday he will be “moving on,” confirmed his interest in running for the congressional seat. Slosberg, who once toyed with the idea of challenging Wexler in a Democratic primary, said he’s “leaving his options open.”

Frankel and Deutch said they’d wait for Wexler to go public before discussing their plans.

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It’s official: He’s Rep. Bernard now

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 by George Bennett

Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach

Rep. Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach

Former Delray Beach City Commissioner Mack Bernard, who won an Aug. 25 special election to fill the state House District 84 seat, is officially a member of the state House of Representatives after the state’s Elections Canvassing Commission certified the results this morning.

Democrat Bernard, who couldn’t vote for himself in the special election because he lived outside the District in Delray Beach, switched his voter registration to a house in West Palm Beach in District 84 on Friday. Bernard said he’s closing on the house next month and has signed a lease to live there in the meantime.

Bernard’s term runs through November 2010. He replaces Priscilla Taylor, who left the House in July when she was appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to fill a Palm Beach County commission vacancy.

Early voting turnout “very sad” as Tuesday’s special House 84 election approaches

Monday, August 24th, 2009 by George Bennett

Early and absentee voting figures suggest another low-turnout special election Tuesday when Riviera Beach Councilman Cedrick Thomas and Delray Beach City Commissioner Mack Bernard vie for the state House District 84 seat.

In fact, not even all the candidates will be voting. Bernard lives outside the district and has not changed his residence. If he wins, he said he will establish residency in District 84 before Sept. 22, when the winner of Tuesday’s election will take office.

Only 75 people cast early ballots for the election to replace Priscilla Taylor, who left the District 84 seat in July when Gov. Charlie Crist appointed her to a Palm Beach County commission vacancy.

“It’s very sad,” said Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher.

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Money advantage for Bernard in special state House 84 race

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009 by George Bennett

Delray Beach City Commissioner Mack Bernard has raised $22,500 and put in $15,000 of his own money for his Aug. 25 special state House race against Riviera Beach Councilman Cedrick Thomas. Thomas has raised $12,651, according to reports of activity through last Thursday.

Bernard has spent $13,198 — with $10,215 of that going to the Patriot Games consulting firm. Thomas has spent $1,460.

Bernard and Thomas, both Democrats, are running to replace Priscilla Taylor, who stepped down last month when Gov. Charlie Crist appointed her to a Palm Beach County commission vacancy.

Joe Negron scores massive win in special state Senate election

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 by George Bennett

Negron

Negron

Former Republican state Rep. Joe Negron of Stuart won a lopsided victory in a special state Senate election today to replace retiring Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, in a Treasure Coast-Palm Beach County seat.

Negron beat Democrat Bill Ramos by a 3-to-1 margin in Senate District 28, which includes all of Martin County and parts of Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties.

Negron, 47, will serve the final 15 months of Pruitt’s Senate term and face reelection in 2010.

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Negron carries Martin County; other counties incomplete

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 by George Bennett

Go ahead and color Martin County Republican red for Joe Negron in the special Senate District 28 race. With 52 of 52 Martin precincts reporting, Negron got 76 percent against Democrat Bill Ramos.

Still awaiting complete results from the other four counties that have precincts in the district, but it looks like a big win Negron.

Early returns show big Negron lead in special Senate election

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009 by George Bennett

Former Republican state Rep. Joe Negron of Stuart has a big lead over Democrat Bill Ramos in early and absentee ballots, early returns show.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. Tallies of early and absentee ballots from Palm Beach, Martin and Indian River counties show Negron with 11,288 votes to 3,362 for Ramos. St. Lucie and Okeechobee county totals weren’t immediately available.

The big lead is a reflection of Negron’s well-financed, well-organized campaign, which targeted absentee voters.

Negron and Ramos are vying to replace retiring state Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, in Republican-leaning Senate District 28.

Senate money blowout: Negron has 12-to-1 edge for Tuesday’s special election to replace Pruitt

Saturday, August 1st, 2009 by George Bennett

Former Republican state Rep. Joe Negron of Stuart out-raised Democratic rival Bill Ramos by more than a 12-to-1 margin in their special state Senate race, final pre-election reports show.

Through Thursday, Negron raised $499,685 and spent $418,413 for Tuesday’s District 28 election to replace retiring Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie. Negron spent $173,977 on a TV ad campaign, at least $60,890 on direct mail and $4,334 on phone calls, according to his report.

Ramos raised $40,046 and spent $28,089 through Thursday. He could not afford TV ads and spent $1,464 on campaign postcards and $3,835 on signs.

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Well-financed Negron unveils third TV spot as special Senate election nears

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 by George Bennett

As Tuesday’s special election for Senate District 28 approaches, former Republican state Rep. Joe Negron of Stuart is running his third ad of the campaign to replace retiring Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie. The spot, running only on cable TV, features Pruitt touting Negron as “a leader who will always put people first.”

Negron raised more than $400,000 for the race. Democratic rival Bill Ramos raised $31,684 through July 9 and didn’t have enough money to buy any TV ads.

In a sign that Negron sees things going well for his campaign, none of his ads mention Ramos.

Ex-Rep. Harper endorses Thomas in House 84 special election

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 by George Bennett

Former Democratic state Rep. James Henry “Hank” Harper Jr., who this week failed to qualify for an Aug. 25 special state House election because of a paperwork mixup, will announce this afternoon that he’s endorsing Riviera Beach Councilman Cedrick Thomas in the race over Delray Beach City Commissioner Mack Bernard.

Harper noted that Thomas lives in District 84 while Bernard currently does not. The seat was represented by Priscilla Taylor until she was appointed this month to the Palm Beach County Commission.

“I know that Cedrick has been very involved in the district. It is necessary for me to support someone who has at least worked diligently in the district,” Harper said. He and Thomas are slated to appear together at a 3 p.m. news conference at Riviera Beach City Hall.

MoveOn.org: We’re not involved in Negron-Ramos race, but can’t speak for members’ “personal activities”

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 by George Bennett

After Republican state Senate hopeful Joe Negron told supporters last week that liberal MoveOn.org is trying to turn out voters for Democratic foe Bill Ramos, MoveOn.org Political Action Executive Director Justin Ruben responded:

“As a federal PAC, MoveOn.org Political Action does not work on state legislative races and is not involved in the Florida District 28 special election.”

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Election qualifying paperwork? D’oh!!!!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 by George Bennett

Harper

Harper

Opening a campaign and actually qualifying for a spot on the ballot are two different things in Florida. The distinction can confuse ordinary citizens or first-time candidates. It also tripped up former Democratic state Rep. James Henry “Hank” Harper Jr. on Tuesday, even though he’s been through the qualifying process three times before.

Click here to read how Harper failed to qualify for the special election to fill the state House District 84 seat.

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