Palm Beach County Dems Elect Mindy Koch New Chair by 1 Vote After Disastrous Midterms

Elections to choose new leadership for the Palm Beach County Democratic Party went forward recently, revealing deep ideological divisions within the party. A margin of just one vote elected Mindy Koch the new county Democratic chair.

Koch, former party vice chair, received 160 votes in the contest for chair to lead the county’s Democrats for the next two years. The losing candidate, Maria Cole, received 159 votes.

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Koch immediately became chair upon her election and reacted to the narrow margin.

“I went ‘holy mackerel! It shows you that every single vote matters.”

Cole had a soft, albeit slightly awkward, landing after the defeat. She is midway through a four-year term as the county’s state Democratic committeewoman, meaning she will remain one of Koch’s six elected leaders of the Koch-led party.

Similarly, close margins elected others party officials. When all was said and done, the cabinet was split evenly. Koch and two of her supporters were elected, as were Cole and two of hers. Koch refrained from interpreting the results.

“One side won two and one side won two. Infer from that whatever you’d like,”

Given the razor-thin margins and evenly split results, it’s clear that the party is divided, even in the aftermath of the deep blue county tipping red.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the split is ideological but is also generational. This correlation is likely not coincidental, with older party members being relatively moderate Democrats and the young blood representing liberal progressivism.

Koch, a 69-year-old woman, voiced her hope of healing the party divisions and expanding the tent.


“My leadership style is we have to have a team,” she said. “Once everybody starts to work on the same mission. … I think there will be much more unity than they expect. In order to win we have to be able to work with everybody, all-comers, and value them,”

Mindy Koch

According to the Sun Sentinel, Cole, who is “in her 50’s”, had this to say about the party veterans on Friday.


“Boomers have screwed it up, really screwed it up, and they are really resistant to sharing resources and power.”

Cole told the Sun Sentinel that she’s been pushing for youth involvement in the party for years and, by extension, more progressivism.

“I believe a generational shift is necessary, and if anything showed you that it wasn’t the vote last night, it was the vote in November. We need to have more outward facing energy and less coffee klatches. Before we start pointing fingers at Republicans, we have to start looking inward and find out what it is that we are doing that is leaving our people on the sidelines. Is Mindy going to welcome that work? Great. But I am not going to change my focus”

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