Lourdes Casanova taps grassroots donors to raise $61K in five weeks for Palm Beach bench bid

Lourdes Casanova Head Shot copy
She raised the most outside money of three candidates in the race.

It took Royal Palm Beach defense attorney Lourdes Casanova just five weeks to attract nearly $61,000 to her campaign for the Group 2 seat on the Palm Beach County Court.

Her campaign credits strong grassroots support.

Casanova, who filed to run on Feb. 22, technically placed second last quarter in a three-way fundraising contest for the open seat. Not counting self-loans all three candidates made, which are fully refundable if unspent, Casanova led the field despite being in the race for the least amount of time.

Defense attorney Douglas Leifert, who entered the race more than a month before Casanova, amassed more than $72,000 by March 31. Jean Marie Middleton, assistant general counsel of the Palm Beach County School District, raised $23,300 after filing on Jan. 9.

They made self-loans of $50,000 and $5,000, respectively. Casanova gave her campaign $25,000.

She also collected 90 personal checks ranging from $10 to $1,000.

Four law firms, a local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, and Don Ramon Restaurant in West Palm Beach also contributed.

Casanova received $775 worth of in-kind aid for event expenses, marketing and online services.

She spent $1,500. All of it covered donation-processing fees.

Of note, Judicial canons prohibit judge candidates from soliciting donations directly. Instead, they must rely on fundraising from a committee supporting their campaign.

Casanova said in a statement that she is “very thankful for the early support” her campaign has garnered.

“I have a strong, diverse and engaged committee that is working hard to share my experience and qualifications to serve as Palm Beach County Court Judge,” she said. “We are working hard to meet voters across the county and grow the broad coalition of support to run a successful countywide election.”

Leifert received 47 personal checks and 14 business contributions, mostly from law firms.

Given more time to campaign, his $14,000 in expenditures include payments for consulting, marketing, event tickets, campaign shirts and software subscriptions.

Middleton, a Florida-licensed lawyer since 1998, forwent business contributions entirely. She accepted 62 personal checks of between $20 and $1,000. Her average donation was $295.

She also spent nearly $3,000 on reimbursements, email services and a lunch event with the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach.

The three are competing to succeed Judge Ted Booras, retiring at the end of the year after two decades on the bench.

Candidates faced an April 10 deadline to report all campaign finance activity through March 31.

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.


  • Hung Wiil

    April 16, 2024 at 5:30 pm

    Lourdes Casanova is smokin’ hot; I would vote for her if I live in that county. I am not convinced, yet, that she should be elevated to the DCA . . . or higher. We’ll see. Beautiful lady.

  • Polly McFadden

    April 17, 2024 at 12:46 pm

    Lourdes Casanova is professional, experienced, and brilliant.. Her hard work, compassion and dedication to the practice of law in Palm Beach County exhibits her unceasing passion and skill in all she does. She will make an excellent County Court Judge.

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