In a surprise announcement, former Democratic state Rep. Irving Slosberg said today he will not run in a special state Senate election to replace Jeff Clemens in Palm Beach County and will back state Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, for the seat.
“Lori Berman and I are good friends. Good friends don’t run against each other. She stood next to me on all road safety and transportation issues. She’ll make a great senator,” Slosberg told The Palm Beach Post this afternoon.
Slosberg’s decision leaves Berman and Arthur Morrison of West Palm Beach as the only Democrats in the race for the heavily Democratic District 31 seat. Palm Beach County Republican Vice Chairwoman Tami Donnally has also opened a campaign.
The deadline for candidates to qualify for the special election is noon Wednesday. Primaries are scheduled for Jan. 30 and the general election is set for April 10.
The seat became open in October when Clemens — an Atlantis resident who was in line to become Democratic leader next year — abruptly resigned after admitting to an affair with a lobbyist.
After Clemens’ departure, Slosberg quickly announced his intent to run and said he’d give away the “schlepper bags” that were a signature of some of his past campaigns.
Berman, in her fourth House term, had opened a 2018 campaign for Palm Beach County commission but abandoned it to run for the Senate seat. She recently unveiled endorsements from U.S. Rep Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and former Democratic U.S. Reps. Robert Wexler and Patrick Murphy and other elected officials
District 31 is generally east of Florida’s Turnpike from Lake Worth to Delray Beach. Democrats have a 46.6-to-24.1 percent registration advantage in the district, and the GOP did not field a candidate there against Clemens in 2016.