Rader, Clemens, Powell win Palm Beach County Senate races


Rader wins seat

State Rep. Kevin Rader made an advance in his political career Tuesday, beating out school teacher and political newcomer Mindy Koch to win the western-area Senate District 29 seat.

Both Rader and Koch are Democrats, but no one else filed for the seat, which made it a universal primary, where all registered voters were able to vote and where the winner takes the seat without going to the Nov. 8 election.

Rader, D-Delray Beach, who has been in the state House since 2012 and before that from 2008 to 2010, said,

“I’m going to work my tail off for this district.”


Powell takes primary

State Rep. Bobby Powell prevailed over Michael Steinger, a personal injury attorney at his West Palm Beach-based law firm, Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, in the Democratic primary for state Senate District 30 in what was one of the nastiest races on a Palm Beach County ballot.

Powell, D-Riviera Beach, will face Republican Ron Berman in the Nov. 8 election for the Democratic-leaning district encompassing northeast Palm Beach County.

“Tonight we have shown that a life of service is truly a life that counts,” Powell said. “We’ve overcome the obstacle of a millionaire in this primary and I believe with the support of the community we will overcome another millionaire in the general election.”


Clemens over Slosberg

Sen. Jeff Clemens is one step closer to a second four-year term in the state Senate after defeating state Rep. Irving Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, and Emmanuel G. Morel in the Democratic primary for state Senate District 31.

Clemens will move on to the Nov. 8 ballot, facing only a blank space for a write-in candidate.

Clemens, D-Atlantis, who is in line to become the Senate Democrat leader in 2018, called his primary win “one of the largest number turnarounds in Florida Senate history.”

Slosberg congratulated Clemens and said he doesn’t plan to run for office again but “who knows what the future is going to bring.”


Glades farmer reaps victory

Wellington resident Rick Roth, a third-generation farmer of vegetables and sugar cane in Belle Glade, appeared well ahead of the son of a former state representative, in Tuesday’s Republican primary for State House District 85. Roth emphasized small-business experience and a pro-business, anti-fee philosophy.

Andrew Watt, son of former state Rep. Jim Watt and until recently an aide to Rep. Pat Rooney Jr., campaigned on his relationships with business and community leaders.

Roth will face Democrat Robert Simeone on the Nov. 8 ballot.



Rookie gets first win

Political newcomer Laurel Bennett nears her first seat in elected office after an apparent primary victory over Stuart Mears in his second unsuccessful bid for the seat.

Bennett, the chief operating officer of a medical records company in Royal Palm Beach, lost a race for mayor of Royal Palm Beach in 2012. Mears unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, who currently holds the District 86 seat, in 2014.

Bennett will face Matt Willhite, a former Wellington councilman, in the Nov. 8 election for the western county House District 86.

“People believed in me,” Bennett said.



Willhite in close race

Former Wellington Councilman Matt Willhite is closer to a breakthrough in state politics following a Democratic primary victory over Royal Palm Beach resident Tinu Peña for House District 86.

In the Nov. 8 general election, Willhite, who left the Wellington Council because of term limits after eight years, will face Republican Laurel Bennett, looking to turn the district red.

“Hopefully, this is election will show that people want us to work together in Tallahassee and continue the work for the district,” Willhite said.


Silvers outruns other rookies

The Democratic primary for State House District 87 featured three political rookies, all calling for education reform: Darren Ayoub, an environmental attorney; David Silvers, president of a Boca Raton book development and licensing business; and Virginia Savietto, a marketing manager and county public affairs official.

And on Tuesday, it was Silvers who appeared to have won the chance to represent a working class district that is 50 percent Hispanic and predominantly Democratic. He will be the only name appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot for that seat, next to a blank write-in space.


Jacquet takes coastal district

Delray Beach City Commissioner Al Jacquet on Tuesday was narrowly ahead of Riviera Beach lawyer and former teacher Edwin Ferguson in the Democratic primary for state House District 88, which also included former Delray Beach commissioner Angie Gray.

The district, heavily African-American, stretches along the coast from West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach and Lake Park to Delray Beach. Since there’s no Republican candidate, only Jacquet’s name will appear on ballots Nov. 8.

Jacquet has been a Delray commissioner since 2012, and was a legislative aide to state Rep. Mack Bernard from 2009 to 2012.


Slosberg over Skidmore

Political novice Emily Slosberg appears on her way to succeeding her father representing House District 91, as she held a narrow lead Tuesday over Kelly Skidmore, who served four years in the House.

Slosberg, a Boca Raton attorney, is the daughter of state Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, who currently holds the seat. She will face write-in opponents Nov. 8 for the south Palm Beach County seat.

“I feel bad for the folks in District 91,” Skidmore said late Tuesday.

Slosberg said, “I have some big shoes to fill. I have learned a lot from my father.”

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