Ruth’s List Florida backs ‘proven leader’ Katherine Waldron in HD 86 race

waldron
The nonprofit said Waldron's 'in-depth understanding of the district’s needs' sets her apart.

Democratic Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Katherine Waldron gained an endorsement Tuesday from Ruth’s List Florida in her bid for Florida House District 86, marking the third time the abortion rights group has backed the longtime Palm Beach County resident.

Waldron, the only woman running in a four-way race to replace Rep. Matt Willhite next year, is “a proven leader who has an in-depth understanding of the district’s needs,” Ruth’s List Florida Political Director Kayla vanWieringen said in a press note announcing the endorsement.

That said, Waldron’s interests have been shown to extend beyond her district’s borders. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Maria, which struck Florida and the Caribbean within two weeks of one another in September 2017, she co-founded Palm Beach County Cares to collect and provide donated supplies and money to rebuild Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization has since moved onto other benevolent efforts, including providing post-earthquake aid to Haiti.

Waldron, whose platform prioritizes environmental protection and economic growth, adds Ruth’s List Florida’s backing to a dozen prior endorsements from elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, state Rep. Michael Caruso and former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Robin Bernstein, the other co-founder of Palm Beach County Cares.

She was the first Democrat to file this year for the HD 86 race, and she remains the only woman running the a four-way contest to fill the seat Willhite announced he would vacate in April for a run at the Palm Beach County Commission.

Other candidates include two fellow Democrats — former Wellington Mayor Bob Margolis and social worker Seth Densen — and Republican physician Dr. Saulis Banionis.

Republican Susan Kufdakis Rivera filed to run for the seat in January before Willhite announced he wouldn’t seek another term. However, her campaign website appears to not have been updated since the 2020 election cycle, and the Florida Division of Elections does not list her as a candidate in the race.

Florida Politics contacted Kufdakis Rivera for clarification and will update this story when it is received.

HD 86 covers a portion of Palm Beach County, including Wellington, Royal Palms Beach and Loxahatchee Groves. The district leans heavily Democratic, with a double-digit voter registration advantage.

Since filing to run, Waldron’s campaign has raised $37,000, including a $10,000 self-loan. Of that, she spent $17,500 through Oct. 31.

Margolis has raised $3,400 and spent about $12,500 over roughly the same period. Densen, who jumped into the race in September, has spent half the $4,000 he’s raised.

Banionis has yet to file a report with the state on any contributions or expenditures.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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