By Steve Plunkett
The races for the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District have new cash leaders.
After the Aug. 30 primary, Seat 3 incumbent Earl Starkoff was sitting on a $2,155 war chest, while Seat 1 incumbent Dennis Frisch had $1,162.
Seat 3 challenger Erin Wright nearly emptied her account right before the primary, paying $1,511.75 to Wheelhouse Branding & Marketing in Lake Worth and $500 to Political Consulting LLC in Boca Raton, leaving her $2.38. She later gathered $200 in contributions.
Similarly, Seat 1 candidate Craig Ehrnst reported paying Political Consulting $4,000 and $656 to Direct Mail Impressions on Aug. 29, dropping his campaign balance to $285. Since then he has collected $655 in donations, his latest report said.
Before the primary, Ehrnst, corporate treasurer at NCCI Holdings, was the cash king, with $10,030 in total contributions. Wright, owner of a home inspection business, was the early leader in raising money and peaked at $4,420.
The candidates will make weekly finance reports starting Oct. 7.
Both Frisch and Starkoff reported receiving in-kind donations of $1,000 from the BocaWatch online newsletter. BocaWatch.org organized a debate of all the candidates on Aug. 11, then endorsed the incumbents the following day.
Since the primary, Frisch, a podiatrist, has reported collecting $25, as did Starkoff, an IT services executive.
Perhaps more important to Starkoff, he picked up the endorsement of John Costello, the third-place finisher in the Seat 3 race.
“I’ll be actively supporting Earl in his campaign, and I’m encouraging my supporters to join us,” Costello said in a news release sent by the Starkoff campaign.
Costello, an accountant and political newcomer who did not raise money for the primary, finished with 2,979 votes, compared with Starkoff’s 4,398 and Wright’s 4,494.
Medical physicist Shayla Enright, also a newcomer to politics, came in third in the Seat 1 race with 2,798 votes and has not endorsed either Frisch (5,088 primary votes) or Ehrnst (4,295 votes).
If history is a guide, the presidential contest in the Nov. 8 election will bring far more voters to the polls. In 2012, the Beach and Park District race among Steven Engel, Tom Thayer and Felipe Martinez drew a collective 8,972 votes.
The runoff between Engel, who won, and Thayer saw 41,252 votes cast.
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 11. Absentee ballots may be requested now from the Supervisor of Elections Office and must be received at the office by 7 p.m. Nov. 8. Early voting will be at the Boca Raton Downtown Library and other sites across the county from Oct. 24 through Nov. 6.