Katherine Waldron wins four-way Democratic Primary contest for HD 93

Election-Day---Albright-v-Denson-v-Valeo-v-Waldron (5)
The businesswoman will compete with Republican to represent the inland Palm Beach County district.

Businesswoman Katherine Waldron advanced by her closest competitor by 149 votes, or 1% of the 14,857 votes cast in a four-way Democratic Primary contest for an open seat representing inland Palm Beach County’s House District 93.

Vote totals, with all 77 precincts reporting, showed Waldron secured 31.2% of the vote compared to 30.22% for Shelly Lariz Albright, 28% for Tom Valeo and 11% for Seth Densen. The margin was wide enough not to trigger recount consideration.

Albright, Waldron’s closest competitor conceded on her Facebook page Wednesday morning, offering Waldron her congratulations. And Waldron promptly put out a statement.

“Yesterday was a celebration of a movement to create positive change in Tallahassee,” she wrote. “I look forward to seeing everyone on the campaign trail as we continue to reach out to our constituents … and get our message out in preparation for the November General Election.”

Waldron will compete in November with the Republican, Dr. Saulis Banionis, in the General Election to represent the district that covers parts of unincorporated Palm Beach County, Wellington and portions of Greenacres and western Boynton Beach.

A Democrat, though, is likely to claim the seat. Voters in this district went for President Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 by more than 10 points, according to Matt Isbell of MCI Maps.

Among the candidates in this field, Waldron, a businesswoman, raised the most and staked the most cash in her effort to go to Tallahassee. She’s also the only candidate who has held elected office before. She was elected to the Port of Palm Beach Commission twice, most recently in 2020.

Waldron raised $65,800 from donors and loaned her campaign $62,000 in the race. She attracted the most mainstream Democratic endorsements among the candidates in this field. Ruth’s List Florida, which boosts women who support abortion rights, endorsed her, so did the Service Employees International Union. U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel gave 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, Albright, a children’s and youth ministries director, has raised $29,000 and loaned her campaign $20,000. A bevy of Wellington pols supported her bid. Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig gave her campaign $100. Endorsements also czme from Wellington Council members William Drahos, Michael Napoleone and Tanya Siskind, as well as former Wellington Mayors Kathy Foster and Bob Margolis.

Valeo, a school district employee, who has worked for state Sen. Lori Berman and state Rep. Matt Willhite, was third in raising money. He drew almost nearly $28,000 in donations. He also got a boost in the endorsement of The Palm Beach Post for the seat. They cited his experience working with Willhite and Berman, arguing he would hit the ground running. The Post’s endorsement for Valeo said 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, trailed the others in the amount of support he attracted. 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.

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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