Delray Beach Poll Indicates Brutal Battle Ahead for Mayor’s Race

Delray Beach voters need to brace themselves for what’s going to be a brutal municipal campaign battle. Three people are duking it out in this non-partisan election. All three are well-known locals who have all served on the Delray Beach commission. All three have a lot of experience but couldn’t be more different. Many feel that current commissioner Ryan Boylston, a successful small-business owner who was a registered NPA, now a Democrat, will walk into this seat, but his two opponents are saying not so fast. Tom Carney, a Republican, is a former Delray Beach mayor and attorney. Shirley Johnson, a Democrat and a 70-year resident of Delray Beach was a two-time elected Delray Commissioner. She termed out in 2023.

Recently, a poll was sent out to Delray Beach voters, designed to see what “hits” will possibly work during this campaign season and they are ugly. The poll put forth some disturbing information but didn’t attribute it to any particular candidate. Florida Jolt spoke with all three candidates, and all three said it wasn’t their poll. Here are the highlights, starting with good to the downright ugly.

L-R Tom Carney, Shirley Johnson, and Ryan Boylston

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The poll asked about party affiliation but surprisingly also asked about race and gender. Whoever put out this poll definitely wants to know who their voters are. 

Then they got to business and asked:

Which of the following do you feel is the most important problem or issue facing residents of Delray Beach? 



-Too much growth and development

-Cost of living

-Traffic congestion

-Property taxes

-Cost of housing and property insurance




-Prefer not to say

Minus abortion, the choices are good ones and important to residents. Local officials have zero influence on the legality of abortion, so however, anyone personally feels about it will neither positively nor negatively impact the city of Delray Beach. 

Other questions were about candidate favorability. Essentially, do you like them, not like them, have no opinion, or have never heard of them? The candidates they asked this question about were listed in this order:

-Donald Trump

-Shelly Petrolia

-Shirley Johnson

-Tom Carney

-Ron DeSantis

-Ryan Boylston

Then, if the election were held today for Delray Beach Mayor, who would you vote for? Order of choices:

-Tom Carney

-Shirley Johnson

-Ryan Boylston

-Undecided/Don’t Know

Here’s where the poll gets interesting. They give a bio for each candidate, all very positive. According to the poll, here’s what each candidate wants to do as mayor.

Tom Carney would work to reduce taxes, protect the city’s historic charm while reducing traffic congestion, and keep streets safe by backing the police and attacking homelessness. 

Ryan Boylston would focus on affordable housing, controlled growth, and building out long-delayed projects such as the new water plant and Pompey Park renovation, as well as implementing the city’s new Bond packages for public safety and parks.

Shirley Johnson would focus on fixing crumbling roads, addressing rising tides, and building a new city hall. She would be the city’s first African American mayor. 

Now for the ugly. The following statements were made with the idea of who would be more or less likely to vote for the person knowing this information. No statement was attributed to a particular candidate. It is also important to note that the statements/allegations asserted in this poll have not been confirmed.

-While the candidate claims to be anti-growth, he voted to allow a large, high-density apartment building opposed by the local neighbors. 

-The candidate was a leading advocate on the City Commission to use tax dollars to install a BLACK LIVES MATTER sign at the entrance to Delray Beach.

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-A candidate who was found guilty of violating conflict of interest laws was fined thousands of dollars for voting on the commission in favor of a Big Developer who was also a client of his personal business, essentially lining his pockets at the expense of taxpayers.

-The candidate voted for and sponsored numerous increases in Delray Beach taxes and fees. 

-The candidate has a history of being a divisive public figure, including constant battles with outgoing mayor Shelly Petrolia.

-The candidate supported development projects while on the Downtown Development Agency being proposed by paying clients of his business. 

-The candidate has received multiple campaign contributions from the same family of developers who are Ron DeSantis, million-dollar mega-donors.

-The candidate has represented some of the biggest developers in Palm Beach County, working to win approval of their development projects.

-The candidate has a history of shady business relationships with individuals accused of defrauding investors of millions of dollars and running a Ponzi scheme.

-The candidate has a history of shady business dealings with those associated with organized crime and corruption.

-The candidate is an outspoken advocate for extreme leftwing issues like gun control laws, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

-The candidate took a free 270 thousand dollar taxpayer-funded PPP loan from the government and did not repay it.

-While on the City Commission, the candidate failed to equally fund projects in neglected predominantly Black neighborhoods as in other parts of Delray Beach. 

-The candidate is an outspoken advocate for issues like LGBTQ+ rights.

-During Covid, the candidate supported government-imposed restrictions like requiring masks and lockdowns of schools, churches, synagogues, and small businesses. 

Some of the hits are just bad, no matter how you look at it. Some of the hits could be viewed as positive or negative, depending on party affiliation. For example, a Republican might like a candidate who has been funded by someone who has heavily funded Governor Ron DeSantis, but a Democrat might not. A Democrat might like a candidate who supports DEI and gun control laws, but a Republican might not. 

Florida Jolt will follow up with the mayoral candidates and ask which of these statements from this poll are true or false about them. One thing is for sure: we now have a preview of what we can expect to read and hear about these candidates in the next couple of months.

Other stories you may want to read:

Florida Lawmakers Back Disclaimers on AI in Political Ads

Palm Beach County GOP Announces Lincoln Day Gala at Mar-A-Lago

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