Democratic Primary voters to decide between quartet of candidates in HD 93

Election-Day---Albright-v-Denson-v-Valeo-v-Waldron (5)
A newly drawn seat redistricting created has drawn four Democratic contenders.

An open seat representing inland Palm Beach County has drawn four Democrats into a Primary fray.

Katherine Waldron is the only one out of the four candidates that’s been elected before. She won two, four-year terms to the Port of Palm Beach Commission in 2016 and 2020.

Among the candidates in this field, Waldron, a businesswoman, has raised the most and staked the most cash in her effort to go to Tallahassee to represent the district that covers parts of Wellington, Greenacres, Lake Worth and unincorporated Boynton Beach.

Waldron has raised $60,000 from donors and loaned her campaign $62,000 in the race. She has also attracted the most mainstream Democratic endorsements. Ruth’s List Florida, which boosts women who support abortion rights, has endorsed her, so has the Service Employees International Union. U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel has given her campaign a nod, along with Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon and Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth.

Second in the money race, Shelly Lariz Albright, a children’s and youth ministries director, has raised $24,353 and loaned her campaign $20,000. A bevy of Wellington pols are supporting her. Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig gave her campaign $100. Endorsements have also come from Wellington Council members William Drahos, Michael Napoleone and  Tanya Siskind, as well as former Wellington Mayors Kathy Foster and Bob Margolis.

Tom Valeo, a school district employee, who has worked for state Sen. Lori Berman and state Rep. Matt Willhite, is third in raising money. He’s drawn almost $20,000 in donations, but arguably got a priceless boost in the endorsement of The Palm Beach Post for the seat. The Post’s endorsement for Valeo says the race has attracted “several deserving candidates,” however.

Valeo has also won the support of progressive Democrats in the Legislature such as Reps. Tracie Davis, Anna Eskamani and Carlos Guillermo Smith.

Seth Densen, a social worker, trails in the amount of support. He raised $6,800.

The candidates’ donations indicate that no particular interests, such as lawyers, agriculture or insurance, have taken a disproportionate interest in any of the four candidates.

Mailers appear to be the outreach method of choice in HD 93. State records show Waldron ramped up her spending between July 30 and Aug. 4, sending $13,214 out the door, with most of it going to Wildfire Mail in Des Moines, Iowa for mailings.

Valeo also spent more between July 30 to August 5 than he did for any other reporting period, even though most of those other periods covered a full month.

He spent most of the $6,221 in that period with Precision Consulting in Coral Springs for printing.

Meanwhile, Albright’s spending for the same period was overshadowed by earlier reporting periods. She spent $1,800 of the $2,463 she spent between July 30 and Aug. 5 with Patriot Games in Wellington, for website expenses.

The winner of the Democratic Primary will compete with Republican Dr. Saulis Banionis.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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