By Steve Plunkett
Along with naming their preference for U.S. president next month, city voters will choose either incumbent Mayor Scott Singer or one of the men he defeated by a more than 20-to-1 margin just 17 months ago.
Qualifying for the March 17 ballot ended Jan. 10. Andrea O’Rourke and Andy Thomson will keep their seats on the Boca Raton City Council after no one filed to challenge them.
Bernard Korn, who opened his 2020 mayoral campaign account one week after losing the Aug. 28, 2018, special election, has lent his campaign $3,600 but spent none of it, according to his most recent finance report. Korn received 579 votes in the election while Singer got 11,887 and a third candidate, Al Zucaro, got 6,278.
Singer welcomed the renewed rivalry.
“I’m happy as always to tell my story to the residents and highlight why I believe I’m the best choice to keep leading the city of Boca Raton,” he said.
Singer, who was instrumental in bringing a new elementary school and a Brightline/Virgin Trains station to the city, reported $116,156 in campaign contributions as of Nov. 30 with $23,417 in expenses.
Questions about where Korn lives are sure to come up this year as they did in 2018. For that election Korn registered to vote giving an address of 720 Marble Way on the barrier island, a home owned by fellow real estate broker Richard Vecchio.
But he also gave Palm Beach County’s supervisor of elections a mailing address of 19078 Skyridge Circle, a house far west of the city that he and his wife, Kathy, bought in 2000. He and his wife had a homestead exemption there in 2018; he said they had separated but he was hopeful of reconciling. The exemption for both co-owners renewed in 2019 and again for 2020 this Jan. 1.
Homeowners can make changes to their homestead status until March 1.
Also in the previous election, Korn listed a post office box close to Skyridge Circle — at Pak Mail of West Boca — on his city campaign documents; this time he is using a P.O. box at Boca Raton’s downtown post office.
Korn did not return a phone call seeking details of his residency but did send nine emails of campaign talking points.
City Clerk Susan Saxton said Singer and Korn each signed an affidavit “stating that they have lived in the city for 30 days” prior to Jan. 2, the first day of qualifying.
Boca Raton will pay for publishing the notice of municipal election and the sample ballot as it does for any city election, she said.
“There will be some costs charged by the supervisor of elections, but they will be minimal in comparison to an election that is not piggybacking on one that the supervisor must conduct,” Saxton said.
Singer, a lawyer, was first elected to the City Council in 2014 and re-elected in 2017. He was chosen mayor in the 2018 special election to fill out Mayor Susan Haynie’s term when she was charged with felony ethics violations and suspended. This is Singer’s first run for a full three-year term as mayor.
The Federation of Boca Raton Homeowner Associations will host a forum “for any and all candidates” in early March, said Craig Fox, its chairman.