Steven Grant, a 33-year-old political newcomer who some called minor compared to others in the beginning of Boynton Beach’s election season, ousted five-term incumbent Mayor Jerry Taylor in Tuesday’s runoff.
By 9:25 p.m., Grant, an attorney who lives in the Heart of Boynton, had about 630 more votes than Taylor.
When reached by phone at Prime Catch, Taylor, 80, said: “It’s over. He won.”
Grant brings yet another young face to the new City Commission, joining newcomers Justin Katz, 32, and Christina Romelus, 27.
“A lot of people didn’t give me any sort of chance in the beginning and I was able to prove them all wrong,” Grant said when reached by phone at the Twisted Fish where he celebrated his win with his 10-year-old Australian Shepherd Daisy.
During his three-year term, Grant wants to return two residents back to the Community Redevelopment Agency board with the ultimate goal of it becoming completely independent. He wants to save the old high school from demolition and turn it into a cultural center. He also plans to do an audit of the city’s finances to see where Boynton can save money and reduce employer contribution for pensions.
Grant said it’s clear with residents voting he and Romelus in, that the city wants a more modern government.
“We understand technology is moving very fast. We all have 21st century educations and I think that’s where the city wants to move,” he said.
Taylor said it’s difficult to get residents to go out and vote a second time for a runoff. He said he doesn’t plan to run again.
“I was honored to serve the city for 13 years. I did my best and I hope the city moves forward,” he said. “I have a lot of personal time now.”
Grant, who raised about $41,000 less than Taylor in campaign donations, already has made his presence known by attending city meetings and asking questions during public comment. He often comes out to speak in favor of residents regarding developments. This past month he attended the city’s planning and development board meeting and spoke on behalf of Lake Boynton Estates residents fighting a proposed boat and RV storage facility.
On Election Day, Taylor received the most votes out of Grant, former Commissioner David Merker, Carl “The Real” McKoy and Piotr Blass, but he failed to grab the majority plus one to win the election. Grant came in second with about 2,600 less votes than Taylor, a Golfview Harbour resident.
Since then, a group of residents passionate about saving the city’s historic high school rallied around Grant and helped with his campaign. They painted campaign signs and promoted his name through word-of-mouth and social media.
Grant will join commissioners Joe Casello, 64, Mack McCray, 66, Katz and Romelus. Katz ran unopposed this year for Merker’s District 1 seat, and Romelus — with a sweep of absentee ballots — beat James Brake and incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick for the District 3 seat.