Palm Beach County was the recipient of a new Florida Senate seat this year. The new seat is heavily Democratic in its composition, and has large populations of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Jewish-Americans. Three Democrats initially announced for the seat. One of the candidates, former Rep. Kevin Rader, quickly gained endorsements from Congressman Ted Deutch and former Congressman Robert Wexler. These endorsements were disappointing not because of Rader’s views which are in line with that of most Democrats. The problem was that Rader is a serial candidate that lives nowhere near this district and in past election cycles has run in districts that contain far flung places including Fort Lauderdale, Canal Point and Estero.
Rader exited the race during qualifying week to seek his old House seat. That is a race the former Representative is better suited for and that left a clear contest between a Progressive Democrat and one who is a moderate to conservative Democrat in this Senate seat.
Representative Mack Bernard has done a credible job representing his low income Riveria Beach based district. Bernard has generally voted the Democratic line with a few notable exceptions: on issues related to school vouchers and the Environment. Bernard has voted with business interests more often than the majority of House Democrats since his service began in 2010, and that is a worry. Still Bernard is a great young hopeful for the party and should continue his public service in some form even if he loses this race.
Our choice is Representative Jeff Clemens who in his two years of House service has been one of the leading progressives in the body. Clemens has stood strong on issues related to the Environment, public education, economic development and seniors. Clemens previously served as Mayor of Lake Worth, one of the largest cities in Palm Beach County.
Clemens has worked well with local activists to create a strong network locally in favor of liberal causes. He has been a strong voice against the plans of some Republicans to destroy Florida’s coastline by promoting offshore drilling, a move that would endanger Florida’s tourism industry. Clemens, unlike Bernard, has consistently voted against Jeb Bush/Rick Scott backed “school choice” measures and has not collected a single dime from the out of state right wing interests that fund the pro voucher effort. He has also been a strong advocate for local matters related to Central Palm Beach County who has not a resident State Senator since the 1970s.
The Political Hurricane strongly endorses Jeff Clemens for State Senate in District 27.