Voter turnout low in South Florida municipal elections
Boca Raton voters turned down an effort to extend the terms of council members; a Boynton Beach city commission race is headed to a runoff.
As usual in March municipal elections, voter turnout in South Florida on Tuesday was low: Just 7% of eligible registered voters in Broward County showed up to the polls. Palm Beach County had a little bit more, with 12% of eligible registered voters turning out.
Such low turnout creates very slim margins in decisions that could change the direction of a city. In one Palm Beach County municipality, a political faction won out after their candidates got what amounted to 200 and 400 votes more than their opponents in two city commission races.
With that, here’s a breakdown of the election results from the most important municipal elections:
Palm Beach County
Boca’s ballot question on whether to extend term limits of City Council members from three to four years failed. Almost 60% of residents that voted opposed the change, or about 3,800 of the over 6,000 that voted.
The proposed charter amendment was endorsed by the Palm Beach Post and the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer also publicly pushed for it.
One of Boynton’s city commission races was decided, but another is headed to a runoff.
District 4 Commissioner Aimee Kelley was reelected with over 60% of the vote against opponents Tom Ramiccio and Danny Ferrell.
However, none of the candidates in the District 2 race got more than 50% support. The two highest voted getters were incumbent Woodrow Hay with about 36% support and former Boynton Commissioner Mack McCray with about 42%. Their race will now go to a runoff.
The development-backed faction won the day in the Delray Beach City Commission elections. Incumbent Juli Casale was ousted by former Planning and Zoning Board member Rob Long after he received 52%. Retired teacher Angela Burns bested former Commissioner Angie Gray with 51%.
While there were no official tickets, Casale and Gray share many supporters and campaign volunteers, while Long and Burns have support from many of the same local developers and employ the same consulting firm, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Full unofficial results for Palm Beach County’s municipal elections can be found on the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website.
Coconut Creek voters decided they wanted some new blood in one of their commission seats. Cypress Bay High School Assistant Principal Jeffrey Wasserman beat incumbent Becky Tooley in the District A commission race. He won with a little over 50% support, or by an around 50-vote margin. Tooley had been in office since 2001.
In the District D race, incumbent John Brodie bested Broward Young Democrats President Nancy Fry. Brodie, appointed to the commission last year after another commissioner was forced to resign, got about 40% support. Fry got about 33%. Attorney Alfred Delgado received 26%.
The two incumbents in Deerfield Beach cruised to reelection, as all anticipated. City Commissioner Michael Hudak beat challenger Maria LoRicco with over 55% support. Commissioner Ben Preston, the city’s first Black firefighter, secured 52% of the vote, 23 points more than second place finisher Terry Scott.
Miramar’s mayor sailed into his reelection after his opponent failed to secure even double-digit percent support.
Mayor Wayne Messam, the city’s first Black mayor elected in 2015, beat political newcomer Rudy Theophin after receiving over 90% support. Theophin failed to get more than 350 votes.
Messam bested a different political newcomer during his last election with over 80% support. He briefly ran for President in 2019, but suspended his campaign after it gained no traction. His latest campaign ended up fundraising just $5.
A list of the other Broward municipalities election results is available on the Broward County Supervisor of Elections website.
Contact Tristan Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @TristanDWood.
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