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Boca election: Mayor, councilman retain seats; newcomer joins council

Mayor Susan Haynie and Councilman Scott Singer will retain their seats for a second term on the Boca Raton City Council, while newcomer Andrea Levine O’Rourke will join the council, according to unofficial results in Tuesday’s municipal contests from the Palm Beach County elections supervisor.

Haynie held a lead over civic activist Alfred “Al” Zucaro, while Singer won in a landslide over political novice Patti Dervishi with all but two precincts reporting in the city.

In a race with with three candidates and no incumbents, O’Rourke, a design consultant and local activist, beat Andy Thomson and Emily Gentile.

More than 11,000 votes were counted in the election.

Singer attributed a positive campaign — during an otherwise contentious election — to his overwhelming victory.

“I worked very hard to reach as many residents as I could,” Singer said. “I’m happy to have run a campaign that focused on the issues and the residents that was entirely positive.”

Singer, 40, has been critical of some development in the past, and wants to continue work in improving traffic and mobility, approving responsible development and strengthening job creation efforts.

The big-ticket race pitted Haynie against Zucaro, who has been critical of the current council’s stance on development, a key issue in the election. Zucaro said during the campaign that residents were frustrated by a lack of say in the council’s decisions. Zucaro is a former West Palm Beach city commissioner turned Boca Raton civic activist.

Haynie, who was a two-time council member before serving as mayor for the past three years, said she was driven to finish what she has started as mayor: Alleviate traffic, maintain quality of life and grow Boca Raton responsibly.

Haynie and Zucaro could not be reached for comment by publication time.

Zucaro, O’Rourke and Dervishi all ran on low-growth platforms in what appears to be a failed effort to shift the power dynamic of the city council.

O’Rourke said during the campaign that she favored only responsible growth in Boca Raton, and wants to develop a system in which residents have input long before a proposal reached the city council.

Before they were candidates, Zucaro published and O’Rourke edited the blog BocaWatch, which was often critical of what they call overdevelopment.

BocaWatch was instrumental in propelling the citizen-initiated campaign to place an ordinance on the November ballot to preserve Boca’s waterfront property for public use. The ballot question received overwhelming support from voters.

O’Rourke could not be reached for comment by publication time.

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