Matt Willhite raises nearly $21K in December to lead Palm Beach County Commission field
Matt Willhite

Willhite is leading his opponents with more than $234,000 available as of Dec. 31.

Democratic Rep. Matt Willhite added just under $21,000 in December, allowing him to close the year with just over $234,000 available as he pursues the District 6 seat on the Palm Beach County Commission.

Willhite and Democratic candidate Michelle Oyola McGovern have consistently been the top fundraisers in the four-person field. McGovern, however, had a light month of fundraising in December. She added just $3,600 last month after leading the field in November.

Willhite collected just under $7,500 through his campaign account in December and another $13,500 via his political committee, Floridians for Public Safety. The Tampa’s Tomorrow PC and psychiatrist Laura DeLuca of Wellington each donated $5,000 to Willhite’s PC.

The International Association of Fire Fighters contributed $1,500 to Willhite’s PC. Willhite worked as a firefighter before joining the Legislature. The Palm Beach Kennel Club and the Ygrene Energy Fund each added $1,000 donations.

The Orlando Professional Firefighters Union poured in $1,000 to Willhite’s campaign account in December. Democratic Rep. Mike Grieco’s PC, Strong Leadership for South Florida, also contributed $1,000.

The law firm Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP added $1,000 as well, as did the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County.

The Ygrene Energy Fund played two sides in the Democratic Primary for the District 6 seat. In addition to the Willhite check, the group also donated $1,000 to Team McGovern. McGovern shares that PC with her husband, John McGovern, who is running for the Wellington Village Council. That means the committee funds could be used for his campaign as well.

That was the sole donation the Team McGovern PC took in last month. McGovern raised $2,600 through her campaign account. That included $1,000 from Waste Management Inc.

Sylvia L. Sharps, the third and final Democrat in the race so far, raised only $350 in December. Sharps is a former Commission candidate.

Republican candidate Sara Baxter, a real estate agent, raised $600 last month.

Willhite is the leader in available cash on hand as of the end of 2021. He holds more than $234,000 between his two accounts. McGovern isn’t far behind, with nearly $217,000 available. Sharps holds just over $7,300, while Baxter retains less than $3,600.

The candidates are vying to replace outgoing Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who is facing term limits. McKinlay has endorsed McGovern as her preferred successor.

Candidates and political committees faced a Jan. 10 deadline to report all financial activity through Dec. 31.

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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