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David Levy defeats D’Loughy for Palm Beach Gardens council

By Bill DiPaolo - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

David Levy will return to the city council seat he resigned from five months ago after voters today elected him to a three-year term.

“Voters believe we have a great city. They don’t want to make a change,” said Levy, who was serving his third term when he resigned in November.

D’Loughy, a business attorney, campaigned on a platform of bringing more green energy and high-tech jobs to the city. He told voters that his experience helping small and multinational businesses expand qualified him to make that happen.

“It’s tough to beat an incumbent, unless they do something that transforms them into a pariah,” said D’Loughy, who made his first run at elected office.

The negative tone that the race took during the final weeks hurt D’Loughy, said Councilman Eric Jablin.

“(D’Loughy) was calling (Levy) a crook. That doesn’t work in local politics. It backfired on (D’Loughy),” Jablin said.

The last-minute campaigning included flyers critical of Levy’s environmental record. Gardens voters reported receiving robocalls from former U.S. Congressman and Tea Party activist Allen West, urging them to support D’Loughy.

Pat Hughey, a D’Loughey supporter who lost a city council race to Joe Russo in 2010, said the power of negative campaigning is overrated.

“I don’t think it mattered. Voters already had made up their mind by the time the negative stuff came out,” Hughey said.

Light turnout was reported throughout the city. Campaign workers at Christ Fellowship on Northlake Boulevard, Gardens High School on Military Trail and the Burns Road Recreation Center all said at no time were there people waiting in lines to cast ballots.

Levy, 52, spent his last day of campaigning at BallenIsles, a gated community where there are about 2,200 registered voters. About 4,100 Gardens voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s council election, according to county records.

D’Loughy, 48, spent his last day campaigning near the voting station at Christ Fellowship Church on Northlake Boulevard.

Levy, backed by the police union, raised about $45,000 in the campaign. D’Loughy, backed by the firefighters union, raised about $38,000. The council position pays $25,270 annually.

The fact Levy resigned from the council and was attempting a return may have hurt him with voters, said Gardens resident Don Kiselewski, who served on the city council from 1980-1992.

Levy, an environmental consultant, resigned to run for Palm Beach County Commission. He was defeated by Hal Valeche, a Republican and former member of the Palm Beach Gardens City Council.

“Some people might feel he abandoned them and now he wants his old job back,” Kiselewski said.

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