Palm Beach Politics

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Perman, Sachs win elections without having to face voters

Steve Perman became one of Palm Beach County’s luckiest politicians on Friday.

He was automatically elected to the Florida House of Representatives without having to face the voters because no other candidate qualified by Friday’s deadline to run in the 78th District.

That happens often with incumbents. But it’s unusual in Perman’s case because it’ll be his first term.

He ran – and automatically takes office after the November elections – in the district vacated by state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach.

Rader is running for the Democratic nomination for state Senate – for a seat being relinquished by state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who’s running for attorney general.

Perman isn’t alone.

As dozens of incumbent and would-be state senators and representatives qualified for the August primaries and November general election by Friday’s deadline, no challengers emerged for two Palm Beach County incumbent legislators.

That means state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and state Rep. William D. Synder , R-Stuart, return to office automatically – without having to go before the voters.

And state Rep. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, is also lucky.

She’ll automatically move up to the state Senate to fill the seat left behind when former state Sen. Ted Deutch was elected to Congress. No one qualified to run against her.

Perman will have plenty of company as a Tallahassee freshman.

Thanks to term limits and political ambition, the legislative delegation Palm Beach County sends to Tallahassee next year will look a lot different from the current group of state senators and representatives.

At least seven veteran legislators will be gone.

State Sen. Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, is running for chief financial officer and state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, is running for state attorney general.

Two state representatives who cover parts of South County – Democrat Kelly Skidmore of Boca Raton and Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale – are leaving their posts in an attempt to move up.

Both are seeking Atwater’s state Senate seat, which means at least one won’t return to Tallahassee after November’s election.

Term limits are also removing state Reps. Mary Brandenburg, D-West Palm Beach; Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton; and Carl Domino, R-Jupiter from the House.

Domino is competing with Bogdanoff for the Republican nomination to seek Atwater’s state Senate seat.

And in their wakes, Bogdanoff, Domino and Skidmore are leaving House seats sought by multiple candidates.

Every qualifying week bring a surprise. In Palm Beach County, Brandenburg had indicated she was planning to run for the County Commission seat being vacated by term limited Commissioner Jeff Koons. But facing a primary contest with School Board member Paulette Burdick, she said this week she wouldn’t run after all.

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The third time's the charm for Perman.

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About the authors
ANDY REID has covered government, growth and development, and environmental issues in Florida since 1996. He joined the Sun Sentinel in 2005 and covers Palm Beach County government, with an emphasis on growth and development, as well as South Florida water management issues. He previously worked at the Tampa Tribune, Stuart News and the News Chief in Winter Haven. A native of Tampa, Reid graduated from Florida State University where he majored in communications. He is a father of three and lives with his wife, Jennifer, in Royal Palm Beach.

ANTHONY MAN is the political writer in Broward County. Concentrating on local political people, parties and trends, he also covers state and national politics from a Broward perspective. He's coordinating the Broward Politics blog with contributions from reporters throughout the county. Before moving to the Broward political beat, he covered politics and Palm Beach County government for the Sun-Sentinel, including touch-screen voting and the Supervisor of Elections Office. He's also covered municipal, county, state, and federal elections and made repeated reporting trips to Tallahassee for regular and special sessions of the Florida Legislature. He joined the Sun-Sentinel in 2002 after covering state and local politics in Illinois. Like so many others in South Florida, he's originally from a New York suburb (Rockland County).
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