Palm Beach Co. Mayor endorses Irv Slosberg while Melissa McKinlay decides against SD 29 bid
Image via The Palm Beach Post.

So far, only two Democratic candidates have announced they'll pursue the seat.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay says she’ll forgo a run for Senate District 29 after Sen. Kevin Rader dropped his reelection bid Tuesday.

“Over the last 24 hours, so many friends and community leaders have reached out encouraging me to run for the Florida Senate,” McKinlay said in a written statement.

“While I am humbled by the encouragement and faith so many have expressed, I am not running for the Florida Senate for many reasons. Over the last six years on the County Commission, I have been a fierce advocate for the Glades community, combating the opioid epidemic, improving substandard farm worker housing conditions and fighting human trafficking. I have two years remaining in my term and I plan to use them effectively on these and other issues, especially in light of the current COVID-19 battle.”

McKinlay represents District 6 on the County Commission. That district spans portions of SD 29, such as the Glades, giving her some familiarity with the needs of those constituents.

With McKinlay declining to run, the race still contains just two Democratic candidates: Rep. Tina Polsky and former Rep. Irv Slosberg.

Slosberg announced a pair of new endorsements Wednesday including Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner and, not surprisingly, Slosberg’s daughter Emily — who currently represents House District 91.

“When I was in the Florida House of Representatives, Irv served as the ranking Democratic member on the Criminal Justice Committee,” Kerner recalled.

“As a former police officer and prosecutor, I can attest that Irv was tough on crime and was a tireless advocate for his constituents. Irv left a lasting mark in the legislature by fighting for stronger traffic laws and the safety of all Floridians. I am proud to call Irv my mentor and give him my endorsement for District 29.”

Added Emily Slosberg, “Irv has been a public servant for over 20 years and has dedicated his life to public safety. The constituents of District 29 need someone with his experience to stand up to Gov. Ron DeSantis and lead us through the crisis and recovery of COVID-19.”

Republican Brian Andrew Norton, who’s running his first political campaign, also filed to run in SD 29 earlier this year.

The field is still taking shape, however. While former Sen. Joe Abruzzo also said he will not pursue the SD 29 seat, Rep. Matt Willhite of House District 86 says he is considering a run.

The district spans portions of Palm Beach County including South Bay, Belle Glade and Wellington. It extends south into Broward County as well, covering Parkland.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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