Rick Roth draws significant support in fourth-term bid to represent PBC’s most rural House District
Can Terence Davis dethrone Rick Roth, despite serious support?

Terence Davis Rick Roth
Redistricting turned Palm Beach County's HD 94 into a tossup between the parties.

If the money raised is any gauge, Republican Rep. Rick Roth is about to steamroll the Democratic challenger in his campaign for a fourth term representing Palm Beach County’s western, agricultural swath.

Roth has raised $192,213 for his bid for a fourth term, to the four figures his competitor Terence Davis collected. Much of Roth’s haul comes from the Republican Party apparatus.

Roth received $49,000 in cash and about $28,500 in in-kind support from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee (FHRCC). He also received nearly $35,000 in in-kind support from the Republican Party of Florida in campaign staff and polling support.

Redistricting turned this district from the lightest shade of red to true toss-up status. Roth’s new district elected President Joe Biden over President Donald Trump by 0.08 percentage points, according to Matt Isbell, an election data specialist with MCI Maps.

House District 94 is one of two districts currently represented by Republicans in Palm Beach County and Republicans are invested in keeping the territory.

And it doesn’t look like Davis, a one-term Riviera Beach City Councilman, is giving Roth much of a contest when it comes to the money race.

The cash Roth got from the FHRCC alone is more than five times the total his Democratic opponent raised from outside sources. Davis, who works as a disaster recovery consultant, collected $9,210 for the entire election cycle and loaned his campaign $1,850.

Roth is a farmer and agriculture interests formed the biggest sector of his support, giving him about $30,000 collectively. U.S. Sugar and its subsidiaries are part of that take, giving him a total of $5,000.

Direct Response Campaigns in Tallahassee received the biggest check from Roth’s campaign — nearly $84,000 for Comcast cable TV ads. He also spent $9,000 with The Jackson-Moore Group of Belle Glade for a door-knocking campaign.

No state Democratic organizations have given Davis’ campaign money, but he did get $200 from the Communities of West Palm Beach Democratic Club. The Palm Beach Classroom Teachers Association, a teachers union, gave him $1,000. The International Works of Iron, based in Riviera Beach, gave him $500. Katherine Waldron, a Democratic candidate for House District 93, sent him $250. Green Florida PAC, based in Plantation, also donated $1,000.

Even though he didn’t show for the editorial board’s interview, Roth received the Palm Beach Post’s endorsement in this race. He’s shown himself “to be a competent and dependable public servant, far more experienced and knowledgeable of the issues than his Democratic opponent,” the Post wrote.

Davis says he’s been endorsed by the Palm Beach County Democratic Club, the Western Communities of West Palm Beach Democratic Club, The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the Palm Beach County Classroom Teachers Association, the Florida Leadership Council, The Sierra Club and The Palm Beach/Treasure Coast AFL-CIO, according to the Post.

Geographically, the district is one of the largest in South Florida, extending from West Palm Beach’s suburban communities to Belle Glade, including Pahokee and Royal Palm Beach.

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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