Rick Roth easily captures anticipated toss-up district to win a fourth term
Can Terence Davis dethrone Rick Roth, despite serious support?

Terence Davis Rick Roth
Redistricting threw this district into expected toss-up status, but it was a clear win for Roth Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Rick Roth rolled to a fourth term Tuesday, decisively besting a challenge from Democrat Terence Davis to represent Palm Beach County’s agricultural swath in House District 94.

Roth won 60% of the vote, compared to the 40% that Davis drew, unofficial results show.

Roth had raised $177,513 for his bid for a fourth term, to the $13,219 Davis collected in outside donations. A sizable chunk of Roth’s support came from the Republican Party apparatus.

Roth had received $49,000 in cash and about $32,064 via in-kind support from the Florida House Republican Campaign Committee (FHRCC). On Nov. 2, though, his campaign returned $25,000 to the FHRCC, but they added almost $4,000 through in-kind support. Roth also received nearly $35,000 via 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 invested in keeping the territory.

It didn’t look like Davis, a one-term Riviera Beach City Councilman, was giving Roth much of a contest when it came to the money race.

The cash Roth got from the FHRCC alone is nearly twice the total his Democratic opponent raised from outside sources. Davis, who works as a disaster recovery consultant, loaned his campaign $1,850 in addition to the $13,219 he collected from donors.

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.

During the main Session earlier this year, Roth was able to get local projects and an annexation approved. He sponsored and received approved for a $1 million appropriation for improvements to the Palm Beach Gardens stormwater system, $625,000 for a South Indian River Water Control District canal realignment, and a $300,000 appropriation for a North Palm Beach Stormwater Master Plan

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. Roth was also endorsed by The Hispanic Vote of Palm Beach County and the Log Cabin Republicans.

Davis said 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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