Sam Stern outraises crowded field for State Attorney in Q1, is looking for a red boost in blue Palm Beach County
Image via Sam Stern campaign.

Sam Stern
Democrats have a voter registration advantage in the county, but it went red for Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022.

Republican Sam Stern raised more than $116,000 in the first quarter of 2024, which spans January through March. And he did so entering the race more than a month into the period. It’s more than any of the other six candidates in the race.

Stern’s fundraising includes more than $51,000 to his campaign and another $65,000 raised to his political committee, Stern PC. His campaign spent just $5,931, while his committee only spent $36. Combined with a $25,000 candidate loan to his campaign, Stern has about $135,000 on hand to spend.

While he outraised the entire field in the first quarter, Stern’s cash on hand is still slightly less than the top funded Democrat in the race, Alexcia Cox. Cox has about $163,000 available between her campaign and political committee, Friends of Alexcia Cox.

Her campaign raised more than $36,000 in the first quarter, bringing her overall hard money raised to nearly $174,000. Her committee has raised $12,000. Her campaign spent $12,885 in Q1 and less than $23,000 overall, while her committee has spent virtually nothing.

Cox is the Deputy Chief Assistant at the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office, which serves the 15th Judicial Circuit. Cox would be the first woman and first African American to serve as Palm Beach State Attorney.

Stern is a former federal and Palm Beach County prosecutor. He faces just one Republican challenger in the GOP Primary, Forrest Freedman.

But Freedman, who entered the race just after Stern, hasn’t shown any momentum so far on his campaign, raising just $2,880 and loaning his campaign $400. With just $133 spent so far, Freedman has just over $3,000 to work with. He has a committee established, but it has not reported any fundraising activity.

Cox, meanwhile, faces a crowded field with three other candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. And unlike Stern, her opposition is raising at least semi-serious cash.

Craig Williams, the current Palm Beach Chief Assistant State Attorney, raised nearly $35,000 to his campaign in the first quarter, for a total of $87,350 raised as of the end of March. With a $50,000 loan to his campaign and a little more than $27,000 in spending, Williams has about $110,000 on hand to take on Cox in the Democratic Primary.

Rolando Silva, a retired Palm Beach Sheriff’s Captain, raised a little over $12,000 in Q1, bringing his total campaign fundraising to just over $59,000. He retains a little less than $48,000 in that account. His committee, Friends of Silva, raised $10,000 in Q1, and $15,000 total since entering the race, and has less than $8,000 on hand. Between the two accounts, Silva has about $56,000 on hand.

The other Democrat in the race, Gregg Lerman, raised $14,515 in Q1, and has raised just over $64,000 to his campaign account overall. But with nearly $51,000 spent since entering the race, including $11,616 in the first quarter, Lerman is left with just about $13,000 on hand. He has a committee, but it has not reported any fundraising activity.

A no-party candidate, Adam Robert Farkas, is also in the race. But he hasn’t raised a dime.

The candidates are running to succeed incumbent State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who is not seeking re-election. The Democrat has served 11 years in the position.

The county favors Democrats, with nearly 39% of voters registered as Democrats compared to just 29% as Republicans, according to the most recent L2 voter data. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office data shows the disparity is a bit smaller, with 38% Democrats, 32% Republicans and 28% no-party. Once considered a Democratic stronghold though, the county went red for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022, so it’s entirely plausible that Stern has a path despite the voter registration numbers.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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