Mayor Scott Singer and the Boca Raton Swamp Lost Big on Election Day
The election is over, but the political drama continues thanks to the Republican Mayor of Boca Raton betraying his own party. No thanks to Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer, the Palm Beach County legislative delegation has a new Republican member with newly elected State Representative Peggy Gossett-Seidman.
The first PBC delegation event was this past Friday; many attended, including local officials. One of the officials in attendance was Singer, who had a strong message for our new representative: “We need to talk.”
Let’s do a quick recap of recent events. Republican Mayor Singer, as far as I know, has never openly endorsed anyone in a race for office.
Singer prides himself on staying out of partisan fights, but not this time, when he decided to endorse his fellow city councilman, Democrat Andy Thomson, for one of Florida’s most competitive and costly state house races.
Many months ago, Peggy Gossett-Seidman asked Singer to endorse her. According to Gossett-Seidman, he told her he was endorsing Thomson. I told Gossett-Seidman, then a local commissioner in Highland Beach, that it’s not unexpected for fellow council/commissioners to support their colleagues.
At the time, Singer didn’t publicly endorse Thomson. However, shortly before the election, Thomson came out with “a message from “Mayor Scott Singer” in mass texts and emails with the news that Singer is supporting him.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Andy Thomson. He knows our community and has served Boca Raton well. Andy works hard to find common ground solutions, and will work to protect Home Rule in Tallahassee.”
-Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer
In the election’s home stretch, this was when Singer’s endorsement mattered the most. Thomson was desperately trying to get a boost for his dying campaign. At this point, everyone knew he was a Democrat, that he raised taxes as a councilman, and that The Florida Department of Transportation gave the Boca roads D and F ratings due to terrible traffic. An endorsement from a Republican mayor in Boca Raton was precisely what he needed, and it was a shrewd move by Thomson.
The person it wasn’t good for was Scott Singer or the city of Boca Raton. When I saw this message, I thought: “Is this his way of telling us that he no longer wants a political career? Does he believe that Republicans will be happy about this?” Another possibility is that Gossett-Seidman’s campaign brought some awareness about what the local Boca City Council had been doing, and he thought this was a way of protecting himself.
Eyes were on him now, and it wasn’t until a day after the election on November 9th that he found out that he was running unopposed for re-election as mayor of Boca Raton. Kudos for that hard-fought win, Scott. I can’t even begin to guess who advised him to endorse Thomson, but I do know one thing. There’s no way Thomson’s campaign put that message out without Singer’s cooperation.
Singer didn’t count on the immediate backlash he received for pulling this stunt. Almost immediately, an article by Randy Schultz came out in the Boca Mag online, denying that what he said was an endorsement. Singer told Schultz that Thomson’s campaign had asked if he “would say something nice about Andy, so I did.”
So basically, he was just being a good friend to his fellow swamp creature. Scott, you said that Andy would do a great job in Tallahassee. You said he should be in Tallahassee, which means you believe he should be in that seat.
That’s an endorsement and trying to take it back just made you look like a weasel.
The election is over; Singer shows up at the delegation meeting and sees Gossett-Seidman. One would think he would say something professional such as “Congratulations on your win. I’m looking forward to working together. Let’s get together and discuss what we can do for Boca Raton.” That’s not how the conversation went at all. Instead, he went up to her and said, “We need to talk.”
Next, he asked her legislative aide, who worked on her campaign but was in no way responsible for any of the messaging, if he had worked on her campaign. When he said yes, Singer said, “then we need to talk.” It sounds like an intimidation attempt, and I’m willing to bet that this conversation would have gone quite differently if the new representative had been named Paul instead of Peggy.
Gossett-Seidman is a state representative-elect. She doesn’t need to explain anything that happened during her campaign, and Singer doesn’t have the right to demand explanations.
The Republican Party in Tallahassee has a super-majority now. To make this happen, the party needed two more House seats. They added seven, and Gossett-Seidman is among them. A Republican mayor who tried to sabotage the Republican Party will not get a warm reception in Tallahassee.
Singer’s behavior hurts Boca Raton, and he may want to rethink his attitude toward Gossett-Seidman.
The election is over. Gossett-Seidman won, and now it’s time for the real work to begin for the district she represents and for Florida. Let’s all get on board and support our new representative because we all want what’s best for the people of Florida. All is fair in political warfare. Bygones are bygones, and her success is our success.
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