State Republicans invest in flipping southern Palm Beach House district

THOMPSON Peggy Gossett-Seidman
Democrat and Boca Councilman Andy Thomson is vying with Republican and Highland Beach Town Commissioner Peggy Gossett-Seidman for HD 91.

The most expensive race in Palm Beach County pits a twice-elected Boca Raton Councilman, a Democrat, against a twice-elected Highland Beach Town Commissioner, a Republican, in the newly drawn House District 91.

Boca’s Andy Thomson doesn’t even mention his Democratic Party affiliation or his opponent in his campaign materials. But his rival, Peggy Gossett-Seidman, has a video attacking Thomson which ran on local TV stations. She also prominently features a banner saying “Conservative Priorities” under her name on her website homepage.

This southern Palm Beach County district they are vying to represent — covering Boca Raton, Highland Beach and parts of west Boca — became a decidedly lighter shade of blue in the decennial legislative redistricting process. And state Republicans are pushing hard to flip this district that included territory Democratic Rep. Emily Slosberg-King last represented until she announced she would not seek a fourth term earlier this year.

Out of the $104,385 that Gossett-Seidman raised from outside sources, $49,000 came from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee (FHRCC), which also gave another $19,264 in in-kind support. The Republican Party of Florida contributed $28,750 in in-kind support as well.

Gossett-Seidman appears to be the underdog in this race, however. The district went for President Joe Biden by nearly 5 points in 2020, according to Matt Isbell, an elections data expert with MCI Maps, and Thomson has garnered much more outside support.

Between his campaign and his political committee, Running with Andy Thompson, he’s been able to raise a total of $346,024 in addition to the $30,000 he loaned his campaign. Gossett-Seidman has $304,000 in her campaign kitty, but that includes a $200,000 loan she made to her campaign.

Gossett-Seidman has spent a total of $221,427 for her campaign, compared to the $203,234 Thomson has spent, as of Oct. 7.

Thomson received endorsements from The Palm Beach Post, the Sun-Sentinel, first responders unions in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, the police union, the Florida and Boca Raton Chambers of Commerce, the Associated Industries of Florida, the BizPac of Palm Beach County, the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, Florida Realtors, Florida Education Association, Service Employee International Union, AFL-CIO Florida.

The Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate program has designated him as a candidate who will govern with gun safety in mind. And Ban Assault Weapons Now has also endorsed Thomson.

He also has a raft of local politicians’ endorsements, including Slosberg-King; Democratic Sens. Lori Berman, Shevrin Jones and Tina Polsky; Democratic Reps. Joe Casello and Jervonte “Tae” Edmonds; State Attorney David Aronberg; Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth; Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon; and Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller Joe Abruzzo.

The Democratic nominee to represent Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, Jared Moskowitz, also endorsed Thomson, along with Palm Beach County Commissioners Mack Bernard and Melissa McKinlay and Palm Beach County School Board Chairman Frank Barbieri.

Gossett-Seidman received the endorsements of incoming House Speaker Paul Renner; Attorney General Ashley Moody; Republican Reps. Jessica Baker, Mike Caruso, Randy Fine, Chip LaMarca and Rick Roth; Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig; Royal Palm Beach Councilman Jeff Hmara; Lake Park Commissioner John Linden; Riviera Beach Councilwoman Julie Botel; Highland Beach Mayor Doug Hillman; Highland Beach Vice Mayor Natasha Moore; and Highland Beach Commissioners John Shoemaker and Evalyn David

Gossett-Seidman also has received support from state organizations such as the Florida Electric Cooperatives Association, Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Florida Justice Reform, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, Forward Action Fund, Med PAC and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

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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