Nonprofit founder and private school administrator vying to represent Palm Beach County’s HD 89

Daniel Zapata, and Debra Tendrich
The two are vying for the seat Rep. David Silvers is vacating due to term limits.

A Democrat and Republican are now vying for an open House seat in central Palm Beach County.

Debra Tendrich, a nonprofit founder and executive who ran for Delray Beach City Commission in 2020, is going up against Republican Daniel Zapata, who works in administration for an area private school, for the right to represent House District 89.

Zapata filed for the job in March and ran in 2022 for the same seat representing an area roughly defined by Southern Boulevard to the north and Hypoluxo Road in Boynton Beach to the south, stopping east of Jog Road on its western side and no further east than Dixie Highway.

Rep. David Silvers, now term-limited, defeated Zapata by less than 5 points in a year that saw many Palm Beach County Democrats defeated in districts that were once thought of as solidly Democratic-leaning.

HD 89, however, became a toss-up district in the last election. District voters chose Democratic challenger Val Demings over Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio by 2.1 percentage points, according to voting data from analyst Matt Isbell of MCI Maps. But the same data shows they picked Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over his Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by a little more than 1 percentage point.

Tendrich, a Democrat, said she’s running for many reasons, chief among them her biracial daughter’s future.

“I want her to grow up with opportunities to live and love however she wants without having her beliefs trampled on,” Tendrich said, referencing the current administration’s war on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, along with LGBTQ rights. “I feel that people’s beliefs are being trampled on right now.”

Zapata, who reports raising $300 in June and a total of $2,500 for this campaign cycle, did not return a call or email from Florida Politics seeking further comment. But his positions listed on his website shows that voters will have a clear choice.

Zapata says he supports money following the student — as school choice advocates champion. Meanwhile, Tendrich says she wants guardrails on school choice to make sure public schools are protected. Zapata says he’s fighting for affordable housing, ending inflation and supporting small businesses.

Tendrich, who runs Eat Better Live Better, wants economic opportunities and affordable housing as well. She lists issues Zapata doesn’t mention such as abortion rights, gun violence prevention, environmental preservation and her opposition to the immigration law the Legislature just passed that puts new regulations on driving, employment and those who seek health care.

Tendrich’s nonprofit provides curriculum to students about nutrition and also distributes groceries to the needy.

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].


  • Matt Turnpike

    July 18, 2023 at 11:36 pm

    Could there be a more clear cut race? It’s like they are coming from different planets! I hope the good side wins, but it’s Florida so…

  • Matt Turnpike

    July 18, 2023 at 11:42 pm

    Could there be a more clear cut race? It’s like they are coming from different planets! I hope the good side wins, Just look at each of the candidate’s background. It’s shocking the contrast, she has been a strong community leader with awards, connections and giving back and all he can talk about is his philosophy.


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