Voters in 21 of Palm Beach County’s 39 cities and towns will head to the polls on March 14, while others will see their elected leaders return to office unopposed.
As the qualifying period for most municipal elections ended Tuesday, no one filed paperwork to challenge 42 candidates, including 35 incumbents. That means 12 of the county’s cities and towns won’t hold elections next month because of the lack of opposition for all their open seats.
Two municipalities — Glen Ridge and Palm Beach — have already held elections.
Four other cities and towns — Wellington, Rivera Beach, Pahokee and Westlake — had no open seats and no referenda.
In Palm Beach Shores, incumbent commissioners Patricia O’Hara and Roby DeReuil won re-election when no one filed to run against them, but town voters will still go to the polls next month to decide two ballot questions.
While some sailed to victory Tuesday, others drew challengers.
Incumbents in Jupiter, Royal Palm Beach and Lake Worth will face opponents.
In Boynton Beach, Commissioner Joe Casello was returned to his seat, while incumbent commissioner Mack McCray drew two challengers: Woodrow Hay and Jim DeVoursney.
There are no incumbents running for three city council spots in Palm Beach Gardens. Nine candidates are vying for the open seats.
Joe Russo Jr., son of former City Councilman Joe Russo, is one of four candidates who qualified to run for the Group 5 council seat held by Mayor Marcie Tinsley. Tinsley, who is appointed by the council to the mayor spot, is term-limited and cannot run again. Rachelle Ann Litt, Keven Easton and George Wicker also qualified for the Group 5 race.
The senior Russo, who was first elected to City Council in 1989, left office last year because of term limits.
In Group 1, Mark Marciano will face Michael William Paolercio, and in Group 3, Ron Berman, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate District 30 in November, will face Kathryn Gettinger and Matthew Lane.
In Boca Raton, former West Palm Beach City Commissioner Alfred “Al” Zucaro will face off against incumbent mayor Susan Haynie.
The qualifying period in the city ended last month, but Zucaro filed last-minute paperwork to challenge Haynie in the March 14 election.
Zucaro, who runs the blog Boca Watch, is a nine-year resident of Boca Raton. He served as a city commissioner in West Palm Beach for eight years before an unsuccessful mayoral bid. Zucaro ran against ran against then-West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel in 2007.
Also in Boca Raton, Councilman Scott Singer faces a challenge from Patty Dervishi for Seat A, and three newcomers will square off for Seat B.
In Gulf Stream, millionaire resident Martin O’Boyle is one of seven candidates vying for five open seats on the town commission. He will face Julio M. Martinez and incumbents Paul A. Lyons Jr., Scott W. Morgan, Joan K. Orthwein, Thomas M. Stanley and Donna S. White. The top five votegetters will win the open seats.
O’Boyle has a long history with the beachfront town. In 2015, town officials filed suit against O’Boyle in an attempt to stop him from burying them in expensive public records lawsuits.
In the lawsuit, town officials claimed O’Boyle and Christopher O’Hare filed 1,700 public-records requests in the last two years not because they wanted the information but as part of a money- making scheme. When Gulf Stream’s staff couldn’t keep up with the requests, O’Boyle filed lawsuits or pre-suit settlement demands in excess of costs and fees, the town claimed.
A federal appeals court last year upheld U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra’s June 2015 decision dismissing the case, which was brought under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO.
Staff writers Sarah Peters, Lulu Ramadan, Wayne Washington, Kevin D. Thompson, Alexandra Seltzer, Matt Morgan, Tony Doris and Eliot Kleinberg contributed to this report.
COMPLETE ELECTION COVERAGE
Complete list of who has already won election and who will be on March 14 ballot in all 39 Palm Beach County cities, B5