For some time now BocaWatch has been warning about the upcoming political shuffling as the 2017 and 2018 local election cycles begin to take shape and form.   With the contestants beginning to dance to the music of the proverbial line dance and its predictable line-up, we the residents are finally, again, in the power position; the power of the voting booth…

In the past, there has always been a predictable ‘next in line’ candidate; an ‘establishment’ type put there by developers and the Chamber of Commerce to continue the unbridled overdevelopment that has now changed and continues to change the face of Boca Raton, and not for the better.

That predictability ended a few elections ago when former Councilmember Anthony Majhess defeated Mike Arts, the former President of the Boca Raton Chamber. We, the residents, owe Anthony a debt of gratitude for breaking that decades’ old pattern of predictability.   Then when Anthony decided to run for Mayor and take on the establishment candidate, Susan Haynie, the line dancers’ ‘booty’ actually began ‘shaking’ to the music.

Losing the Council seat was one thing, losing the Mayor’s seat quite another! Alas, gaining a ‘resident friendly’ Mayor was not to be in 2013. The music ended and Anthony was left out. Well, the music has started again.

2017 elections are a mere 11 months away and the line-dance participants can be seen on the sidelines getting ready to ‘dance to the music’ again….and, most important, they must first come ask you, the resident, for your vote…..Payback time!

A few months ago this writer promised a column titled “Rumor has it”; a column that would tell what is being whispered in the political hallways around town.

So here goes…in the order of highest elected office within Boca Raton’s politics, we start with the County Commission seat and the State Representative office in Tallahassee covering our district.

County Commission District 4, currently being held by former Boca Raton Mayor Steve Abram. Comissioner Abrams is term limited out in November, 2018. His seat will be an ‘open seat’ and is expected to attract significant interest from others looking to enter into the political ‘Kabuki’ dance that is about to take place. No rumors have begun to swirl about what Mr. Abrams’ next political office might be….but as soon as they do, you will be the first to know…

State Representative for District 89, currently held by Former Boca Raton Councilmember Bill Hager….Representative Hager is termed out in November, 2018. His state seat will be an ‘open’ seat for a yet to be defined field. He is currently being considered for the position of Florida’s Insurance Commissioner. No other rumors are swirling as to where he might go if not chosen by the Governor and the Chief Financial Officer but one thing is sure, he will no longer be the State Representative for us Boca Raton residents.

Mayor Susan Haynie, the establishment candidate, is currently expected to run for a second term as Mayor of Boca Raton….but, and this is a big but….the natural progression for Mayor Haynie is to Steve Abram’s County Commission seat which becomes open in November 2018.

In order for Mayor Haynie to seek that seat, she would have to comply with the State’s ‘resign to run’ law. The ‘resign to run’ law means that win or lose, Mayor Haynie would not retain her seat as Mayor after November, 2018, leaving the Mayor’s seat to be filled by City Charter dictate with the Deputy Mayor, at the time, moving into the Mayor’s slot and no election for the Mayor’s slot again until March, 2020; a two year period where the Mayor will not have been elected by the residents into that position. UNACCEPTABLE!

A less likely possibility also exists that Mayor Haynie may be interested in a Tallahassee position with the open seat of State Representative Hager….This also would require her to ‘resign to run’ and, win or lose, be out of office in November, 2018. Rumor has this as an unlikely possibility but stranger things have been known to happen.

Councilman Scott Singer currently is completing his first term on the City Council but rumor has it that he is eyeing higher political office. Rumors, however, suggest that the most likely move for Mr. Singer is to file to run for his second term.   His ambitions at this time are not predictable and the rumors are not advanced enough to suggest predictability. It is not beyond reason to suggest that a run for the County seat or a Tallahassee spot or even a run for Mayor may be on his ‘dance card.’

If he were to run for his current seat and then announce a run for the Abrams or Hager seat, he too, would have to resign his council seat effective in November, 2018, win or lose, and his council seat would be filled by a majority vote of the remaining 4 councilmembers until the 2020 election cycle. One other possibility swirling is that he may be thinking about a run for Mayor. That possibility would leave a second ‘open’ council seat for other potential ‘resident friendly’ candidates.

Mr. Singer’s options are the most complex. Therefore, none of the rumors, at this time, are to be taken seriously. Suffice it to say that he has the intellect and the talent for any of these positions. Councilman Singer is not part of the ‘establishment’ as he arrived post the ‘Majhess’ revolution and he represents a break for the proverbial hold of the past.….More on him as the rumors about dancing politicians continue to swirl and to gel.

Newly appointed as Deputy Mayor and Councilman Michael Mullaugh currently is in his final year on the council. He is term limited out after the 2017 elections. His seat is an ‘open’ seat that is expected to attract a variety of candidates. No rumors are swirling about Mr. Mullaugh’s political future and it is expected that he will return to the private sector having completed more than six (6) years of public service on the City Council.

Councilman Robert Weinroth is currently serving out his first ‘full’ term on the City Council. He is not up for election in 2017. His seat runs in March, 2018. Currently there are suggestions that he is interested in higher office. None of these are to be taken seriously at this time but suffice it to say that local government may not have a big enough ‘dance floor’ for him; more on this after the 2017 elections.

Councilman Jeremy Rodgers is also currently serving his first term on the City Council. He is not up for election in 2017. His seat runs out in March, 2018. There are no rumors swirling about Councilman Rodgers at this time. He has a lot on his plate; a family man with 3 young children, a member of the U.S. Naval Reserves, and a full time technological consultant with IBM as his job in the non-political world.

Announced Candidates….

Joe Panella, a businessman and longtime resident of Boca Raton, has filed to run for Councilman Mullaugh’s open seat. Joe has served on numerous City Boards and is a contributor to BocaWatch. He has put forth a ‘resident friendly’ platform as the basis for his candidacy.

Rumored Candidates….

Constance Scott, former Deputy Mayor and CRA Chairperson, is rumored to be interested in returning to elected office. She is said to be interested in Councilman Mullaugh’s open seat. Ms. Scott has a voting record that is ‘developer friendly’ and, if she runs, will have to defend her record to the residents as a basis for her candidacy.

One other rumor that hit the dance floor today …Ms. Scott may be interested in running for Mayor….this possibility cannot be completely discounted but is highly improbable unless Mayor Haynie has decided to not run for her second term.

Other names have come and gone as possible candidates but none yet serious enough to report here for your awareness.

BocaWatch will be your platform voice for these upcoming elections and for any and all announced office seekers especially those ‘resident friendly’ candidates expected to enter the field.

We encourage many others to enter onto the political dance floor of our great city, Boca Raton….

Remember residents, to get elected the political dancers need your vote…Let’s make them earn it!

Al Zucaro, publisher