Wellington Mayor passes $100K mark, leads the HD 93 money race

Anne Gerwig and Katherine Waldron
Four Republicans are competing for the right to face incumbent Democrat Representative for this Palm Beach County House seat.

A fourth Republican has joined the race to determine who will challenge the Democratic incumbent now representing House District 93, and so far, the Wellington Mayor is lapping her rivals in the Primary race.

Anne Gerwig, the twice-elected Wellington Mayor, passed the $100,000 mark in money added to her campaign for the fundraising period that ended Sept. 30.

Gerwig contributed $60,000 of her own money to that total. Still, she’s collected more from donors than any other candidate in the race, at least according to currently filed fundraising reports. The field includes incumbent Democratic Rep. Katherine Waldron, now in her freshman term representing the district that covers Wellington, portions of Greenacres and western parts of Boynton Beach.

Waldron, however, says she’s filing an addendum showing she’s raised more than her original report said.

In the period that covers July 1 to Sept. 30, Gerwig collected nearly $21,000 in donations. After the $8,137 she’s spent, she has $93,000 to spend on her bid representing the inland Palm Beach County District.

That compares to the $47,000 that real estate developer and Republican Brandon Cabrera has to spend in his first bid for elected office. He reported adding $6,425 in the last quarter, bringing his total donations to $35,275. He also lent his campaign $25,000.

Meanwhile, Waldron, a businesswoman previously serving on the Port of Palm Beach Commission, seems to be ramping up her fundraising. Of the $36,870 she’s raised this cycle, nearly $17,000 came in between during the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That addendum, according to Waldron, would tack on another $4,500, putting her slightly ahead of Gerwig. That update hasn’t been filed as of this writing.

With her expenditures, Waldron currently has a smidgen more than $19,000 to defend her seat.

Christian Rios of Lake Worth filed to run earlier this month, making the Republican Primary a four-way race. He has not filed any campaign finance reports yet and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Another Republican candidate, Chris Mitchell, whose LinkedIn profile shows he’s a vice president and Norcom Mortgage branch manager, reported no money raised in the last quarter. He has about $2,000 raised for his race.

After the Primary contest, the 2024 General Election could test whether the 2022 surge that Republicans scored in this traditionally Democratic stronghold outlive what some believe were the effects of a Governor’s race that had many Democrats staying home on Election Day throughout Florida.

HD 93 takes in a large portion of the Palm Beach County Commission district that elected Republican Sara Baxter to the commission in 2022, whose PAC is contributing to the Wellington Mayor’s campaign.

Waldron eked out a win over her Republican rival in 2022 even though a majority of the district voted for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over Democrat Charlie Crist. That narrow win, though, seems to have attracted a bumper crop of Republican aspirants to represent the district in the State House.

In addition to the PAC of the Palm Beach County Republican Commissioner, Friends of Sara Baxter, a wide variety of interests propelled Gerwig to the top of the heap in fundraising for the quarter ending Sept. 30.

Gerwig collected the maximum $1,000 donation to her political campaign from S.A. Global Strategies, a Royal Palm Beach education consultant; Donaldson Hearing, a Jupiter engineer; Realtor James Gielda of Lake Worth, Lynn McBrayer, a Wellington landscaper; Lotis, a Boca Raton real estate company; Morris Flancbaum, a New Jersey homebuilder who lives at the same address of two other donors giving the maximum, Julian Rizzuto Flancbaum, a Realtor, and homemaker Suzie Rizzuto; TMK Bengard Farms in Belle Glade; and Florida Interventional Pain Management — Florida Spine & Pain Center in Wellington.

During the last reporting period, Waldron’s political committee, Friends of Katherine Waldron, received her re-election campaign’s largest donation — $2,500 from the Latino Alliance.

Her personal campaign account received the maximum $1,000 donation allowed from the Dosal Tobacco Company in Opa-locka; David Garrity, a North Conway, New Hampshire company CEO and founder; Tallahassee-based political committees Coalition for Better Government and Focused on Florida’s Future; Palm Beach Optometry Association in West Palm Beach; Cemex Materials Limited PAC in West Palm Beach and Florida Power & Light’s NextEra Energy PAC, based in Juno 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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