Bobby Powell resigns from Senate for Palm Beach Commission bid, calls for Special Election to replace him
Bobby Powell gives up his seat for a chance to run for

He’s resigning now to ‘prevent any gaps in coverage or representation’ in his Senate district while running for the Palm Beach County Commission.

West Palm Beach Democratic Sen. Bobby Powell is resigning from the Senate to run for the Palm Beach County Commission, and he’s signaling for Gov. Ron DeSantis to call a Special Election to replace him.

Powell sent DeSantis a resignation letter in order to open a campaign account for his run at the District 7 seat of the County Commission. The resignation, effective Nov. 4, is irrevocable.

“Serving as a Senator has been a tremendous honor and a significant part of my life for nearly 8 years,” Powell said in a statement. “It is my intent to prevent any gaps in coverage or representation in this district while pursuing the County Commission, and filing my resignation now allows the Governor time to set a Special Election to coincide with the upcoming Primary and General Elections.”

Powell’s resignation letter comes 10 months after he filed an intent to run for the County Commission in an attempted seat swap with former state Representative and current District 7 Commissioner Mack Bernard, who reaches term limits in November. Powell previously worked for Bernard in the House.

Bernard is running for Powell’s seat representing Senate District 24. He is now listed as a 2026 candidate, but that will change in the likelihood that DeSantis calls a Special Election.

Powell, who won election to a third term in the Senate in November 2022 with 55.7% of the vote, has raised more than $173,000 toward his County Commission bid.

He is set to face lawyer Richard Ryles in the Democratic Primary. Ryles is neck-and-neck with Powell, fundraising-wise, with more than $165,000 collected since filing in January 2023.

Republican retired airport operations supervisor Leonard Serratore, who previously ran for Congress, is running as well. He’s raised $300 since October, all of it from his bank account.

Powell’s campaign expects DeSantis to consult with Secretary of State Cord Byrd and set a Special Election to coincide with Florida’s Aug. 20 Primary and Nov. 5 General elections.

Powell got his start in government work as the city planner of West Palm Beach in 2007. He began working for Bernard as a legislative aide in 2009 and succeeded him in the House District 88 seat in 2012.

He has served in the Senate since 2016.

“I believe that a life of service is a life that counts,” he said. “I am committed to continue serving the constituents of (Senate) District 24 through Nov. 4 while tirelessly advocating for policies that enhance the quality of life for residents in Palm Beach County while pursuing the County Commission seat.”

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


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